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The World's Biggest Stage Competition Announces Violin Winner

Violinist Masha Lakisova has won both the jury and online vote for this year's competition


Open to all violinists of all nationalities, ages 18 to 29, The World's Biggest Stage Competition recently came to a close.

The four violin finalists, Jaewon Wee, Zach BrandonEunseo Oh, and Masha Lakisova, performed live at the Kaufman Music Center's Merkin Hall earlier this month. Each finalist performed one movement selected from the newly composed Violin Sonata No. 5 “The Hero’s Journey” by Julian Gargiulo. The four movements were assigned randomly.

Masha Lakisova has been announced as the first prize winner, having won over the jury and online vote.

Masha will receive a cash prize of $5,000, be the featured violinist in the 2025 The World's Biggest Stage Competition (Jan 2025), be the featured violinist in the 20th Water Island Music Festival in St. Thomas, USVI (Jan 2025), and give a series of assembly-style performances (along with Julian) leading up to the 2025 competition in New York Public High Schools. Airfare (from NY), lodging, and meals will be provided (for the Water Island Music Festival) as well as housing in NY while giving the public school performances.

The three runner-ups will each receive $2,000.

Previous winners include cellist Johannes Gray, violinist María Dueñas, and vocalists Sage DeAgro-Ruopp and Anastasiia Sidorova.



Masha Lakisova currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree at the New England Conservatory under the instruction of Miriam Fried. As a soloist, Masha has taken top prizes at the Stulberg, Klein, and Tibor Junior International Competitions, and has appeared with orchestras worldwide such as Kremerata Baltica, HEMU, Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra, Northbrook Symphony, Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra, Highland Park Strings, and Lake Forest Symphony.

Masha graduated from Juilliard Pre-College in 2020 as a student of Itzhak Perlman and Li Lin and has also studied with Grigory Kalinovsky, Drew Lecher, and Larisa Zhizhin.

Her past string quartets, Quartet Diamant and Quartet Bellezza, won two consecutive Gold Medals in the Junior Division at the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, along with top prizes at the St. Paul String Quartet Chamber Music Competition, the WDAV Young Chamber Musicians Competition, and the Discover Chamber Music Competition. Her current ensemble, Quartet Luminera, has recently won the Silver Medal in the Senior Division at the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, the Borromeo Guest Artist Award, and the Honors Ensemble distinction at the New England Conservatory.

Past summer festivals include the Ravinia Steans Music Institute, Perlman Music Program Chamber Music Workshop, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and the Four Seasons Winter Workshop. She has also been a recurring guest at the North Shore Chamber Music Festival since 2015, where she became the first recipient of the Arkady Fomin Scholarship.

Miss Lakisova is the proud recipient of a magnificent violin by Giovanni Francesco Pressenda, Turin, 1845 on loan from The Stradivari Society of Chicago thanks to the generosity of her patron, Edward Manzo.

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