VC INTERVIEW | Fjodor Elesin on the New WorldVision Music Contest
Open to string, piano, and harp soloists, the inaugural online competition will be hosted at regional and national stages, followed by international semi-final and final rounds
The Violin Channel recently discussed the new-format international competition with Artistic Director Fjodor Elesin.
Applications are to be received by September 15, 2021. For more information on the competition and how to apply, please visit: https://bit.ly/3ycQhe2.
Tell us about the exciting new WorldVision Music Contest? What categories are you offering and which instrumentalists are invited to apply this year?
The WorldVision Music Contest is quite an ambitious and challenging project. This is the first time where the public, along with the jury, will decide who wins the competition.
Musicians age 16 to 35 that play the following instruments are invited to apply: violin, viola, cello, double bass, piano, harp.
A participant may represent as many categories as they want. To date, we have received applications from more than 80 countries.
When we started working on the main competition, we noticed an incredible number of requests from younger musicians — so we created The WorldVision Junior Contest for young talent ages 9 to 15.
We also realized that we wanted to create our own composition contest. The WorldVision Composers Contest is one of the premier global online competitions for contemporary classical music composers. Every professional composer over the age of 18 can enter it.
Where did the idea for a new format of competition come from? Is it something you have envisioned for a while, or is it more an adaptation based on our current pandemic situation?
We always had the idea to create a new format for online competitions. This contest is designed as a big coming-together of young musicians from all around the globe. Our goal is to create a platform for them to share their experiences. Of course, The WorldVision is not only about spending time together and watching others, but also about showing your talents to a mass audience.
During the pandemic, we thought that at a time when there are so many restrictions around the world, such a project would be needed both for the audience of classical music and for young musicians.
What is your core mission and what are you aiming to achieve with this new format?
We have some global goals. One of them is the popularization of classical music in online formats for students, performers, and of course, listeners.
The other is to discover new talents worldwide and give them possibilities to grow and shine.
The competition has four stages in order to give different musicians a chance to participate. This way, musicians who are still at the beginning of their careers can take part and win prizes on the regional or national level, and not be afraid of competition at the global level.
Unlike most contests, we award the finalists of each stage with educational scholarships provided by our competition partner Schlossakademie. As I have mentioned, we also actively involve the public in the voting process (public voting, the “Golden ticket”, and donations). This gives people the opportunity to support musicians in times of the pandemic when they are unable to give concerts.
The competition is happening entirely online this year. Can you walk us through your different stages, from application to the regional selection, right through to the awarding of your grand prize?
The first three rounds (regional, national, and semifinals) will be held completely online. The finals will be held in person. The four best remaining musicians will play in the Konzerthaus Wien in Vienna with the Nova Orchester Wien led by William Garfield Walker.
To first apply, a musician has to go through a simple registration procedure. To become a participant, people need to upload their documents, biography, and a photo on the website. Then they have to upload their video for a pre-selection and wait for approval. Once their performance has been approved and published, they can pay for the entry fee and start collecting votes and donations.
In the first regional round, the participants in each instrumental category compete with musicians from the same region. Then in the national round, they compete with musicians from the same country regardless of the instrument category. Afterward, the semifinals and finals are global. That’s how we make sure that we won’t lose any talented musicians from small villages or towns. The participants have to work their way up.
What can this year’s international first prize winner expect to receive?
Lots of money! :)
Grand-Prix is €100,000 cash prize and concerts in three amazing locations: Carnegie Hall in New York, Philharmonie Berlin, and Zaryadye Hall in Moscow.
In addition, we are confident that our competition will support the participant's future career. We think that the involvement of a wide audience of classical music lovers, plus the broadcasting of the final concert can bring glory to the winner.
Participants also receive prizes at every stage. For example, at the regional stage of The WorldVision, finalists receive scholarships between €50 and €350.
Please tell us about your Golden Ticket offer?
The golden ticket is an opportunity for the public to single out their favorites with donations. It is available on Stages 1 and 3 of the contest.
The Golden Ticket is an audience prize. It will be granted to the participant who has received the greatest amount of donations during the first or the third round of the competition.
The Golden Ticket allows a contestant to advance to the next stage (national round or the finals) without getting first place. It doesn't interfere with the jury's decision. The golden ticket is a bonus life in the competition, like in a computer game.
How did you select your jury? And what were your criteria for their inclusion?
The main criteria in selecting the jury were musical professionalism and proactivity in the development of classical music. Many of the jury members work at the Schlossakademie and are known in their countries, while others are internationally renowned pedagogies, talented musicians, composers, music representatives, and musicologists.
Each stage of the competition has its own jury. In the regional stage, participants will be judged by musicians and professors known in their countries. The national stage is judged by internationally renowned performers. In the semifinals, industry representatives will join the jury. We want to choose the best musicians from all points of view: it has to be a talented musician, a performer, a person for whom winning can be the start of a career.
How will you ensure that scoring is fair and equitable considering the differences in access to recording halls and equipment etc?
Usually, a competition participant applies and after some time, they get feedback. Such a system is not entirely transparent. Ours is completely transparent due to the open voting of the jury and users. Each participant has their profile so they can see how many votes and donations they have received.
At the same time, we have designed the public voting process precisely for a transparent judging system to avoid any kind of fraud.
What are this year’s key dates that people need to be aware of?
The closing date for entries for the children's and main competition is September 15, while the composers' contest deadline is September 20.
Participants must make a new video for each of the stages, and viewers can vote again at each stage.
The most important date is the finale, which will be held on February 28, 2022.
If someone wants to enter the competition, what is the application fee and process to apply?
A candidate has to pass the pre-selection process first. After that, their work will be published online. If a participant's level or the quality of their entry is not appropriate, a new video can be uploaded. Once the video is online, payment can be accepted. To participate in the contest you have to pay €100. This amount can also be collected from donations and paid anytime until the application deadline.
If someone wants to tune in and watch and vote how can they do so?
Each contestant has their own page. To vote for a participant, you must register on the site, go to their page, and evaluate the performance. The visitors can also share a link to their favorite performance.