Armenian Style to the fore …

The 8th International Aram Khachaturian International Competition just finished. A hall packed with many young people heard spellbinding playing from five finalists, accompanied by the Armenian State Youth Orchestra and rising conductor Sergey Smbatyan. A tense jury session that seemed to go on forever but eventually awarded the coveted Grand Prix to French Russian Fedor Roudine and joint first prize to impeccable Japanese Ayako Tanabe and (the real heavyweight for me), Russian Pavel Milyukov.  A recital a couple of days before by last violinist winner at the competition Jaroslaw Nadrzycki was jaw droppingly good. With the President’s wife Rita Sargysan, the Prime Minister’s wife, and the Minister of Culture, Hasmik Poghosyan, all in attendance and live satellite television to lots of places, it makes you think. Boy, they really do music seriously in Armenia …

The Jury over coffee before making any of the tough decisions

And the Youth Orchestra getting a deserved bow

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