VC INTERVIEW | President of Basic Strings Competitors Konstantin Ishkhanov


Following two inaugural editions of the pageant, in Riga in 2018 and in Vienna in 2019, this third version of the Basic Strings Competitors will carry collectively younger string gamers to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Open to candidates of all nationalities youthful than 35 years outdated, the competitors consists of three rounds with the ultimate spherical carried out with the orchestra.

The Violin Channel lately spoke with the President of Basic Strings Competitors, Konstantin Ishkhanov.


Inform us in regards to the Basic Strings Worldwide Violin & Cello Competitions? When have been they based and what was the preliminary mission of the occasion?

The primary version of Basic Strings was held in 2018, in Riga, the capital of Latvia. From the very starting, it at all times included each violin and cello competitions, and the goal, like that of many different competitions I suppose, has at all times been to encourage curiosity in these devices, to inspire younger musicians to select them up, to apply, to develop their expertise additional by exhibiting them that there are alternatives accessible for recognition, for progress, and sure why not, for monetary reward as properly.

Younger musicians characterize the way forward for classical music and its continued existence, and in a world by which it’s harder than ever earlier than to make your mark, we hope to contribute to this in some small approach. There are different competitions accessible in fact, however I consider that Basic Strings gives many issues which aren’t straightforward to search out in anybody competitors. There’s our panel of jury members for one factor, on which we work very exhausting to make sure that it represents the very highest high quality of artists and pedagogues in every respective instrument, after which there’s additionally the prize funds and awards which we provide, that are among the many highest on the planet.

Equally as necessary, maybe, to my eyes at the least, is that Basic Strings, not like another competitions of its sort, is just not tied to 1 metropolis or nation. Within the three editions we’ve had to this point we’ve been to Latvia, Austria, and now the United Arab Emirates. This international mindset helps to extend each the attraction of the competitors, within the sense that it’s actually worldwide, in each sense of the phrase, in addition to its availability to younger musicians who might discover it tough to journey to a selected nation for any number of causes.


You might be providing your first prize winners a few of the highest prize cash among the many world’s worldwide strings competitions. How have been you in a position to make this potential?

The brief reply could be persistence and perseverance! The factor is that, nowadays, we perceive that prize cash issues. Touring to competitions is just not low cost, and within the busy lives of younger musicians who’re attempting to make it as professionals, a monetary incentive can go a great distance so as to add to the motivation to apply, study new items, and make the excessive degree of effort required to compete significantly and professionally.

Other than all this, we wish our award winners to have the ability to rework victory at a contest right into a full-time profession on the highest degree, as a result of in the event that they’ve gained one thing then it signifies that they very in all probability have what it takes to make it, and a considerable prize can go a great distance in serving to to make this potential in fact. With all this in thoughts, we labored very very exhausting to persuade our worldwide sponsors, whose generosity I wish to thank and applaud from the underside of my coronary heart, to help us in giving the perfect prizes we presumably might. In that sense, we’re very fortunate to have companions who share our want to offer the very best alternatives potential for younger musicians and are prepared to assist us make {that a} actuality in any approach they will.


What are the qualities your jury is in search of in potential winners this yr?

That is in all probability one thing that the jury members themselves will be capable to reply higher than I as a result of on the finish of the day, we depart these choices utterly of their fingers. They’re the specialists and the professionals, with dozens of years of expertise between them, and I’d not even dream of interfering or directing them in any approach as a result of in any other case there wouldn’t be a lot level in having jury members in any respect!

Nonetheless, to reply your query from my very own expertise and understanding, it’s normally a mixture of quite a lot of issues, together with expertise, a really excessive degree of technical excellence, which is virtually taken with no consideration at this degree of competitors these days, a robust understanding of the items which might be being carried out, and a singular voice which showcases and displays the musician’s persona. There are in all probability many different qualities and nuances that they appear out for which can not happen to you and me, however the remaining winner of every competitors will, I’m certain, have all these traits.


Your previous two editions befell in Riga and Vienna and this yr you’re holding the occasion in Dubai. How did you determine on Dubai for this yr?

The choice to carry Basic Strings to Dubai was a part of a wider initiative that we’re endeavor together with our worldwide companions to push classical music past the boundaries of its conventional boundaries in a way, which normally limits it to Europe and North America for essentially the most half. We consider that music is a shared international heritage that doesn’t belong to anybody a part of the world, and in reality, current tasks within the Center East have proven that this area too has a excessive diploma of appreciation and starvation for classical music.

Other than that, as I discussed earlier, transferring the competitors to Dubai opens it as much as an entire new cohort of candidates who’re glorious musicians in their very own proper, and simply as deserving of the possibilities and alternatives to indicate their expertise and be rewarded for it, however who discover it tough or difficult to journey to Europe as an example, so now we’re bringing the competitors to them as a result of the one factor we care about is discovering the very best skills on the planet, no matter nationality or geographical location.


Uniquely, not like most competitions, you’ve made the choice to not launch the names of the candidates partaking in your opening rounds? What have been your ideas behind this determination?

The thought course of behind this determination is a twin one. Firstly, the present state of affairs around the globe continues to be extremely unstable because of the pandemic. We merely weren’t sure if all of the candidates would be capable to make it to the competitors or not (proper as much as the opening day in truth) as a result of we had some opponents, particularly from China, who have been having journey issues.

Secondly, it’s a indisputable fact that prefer it or hate it, there’s a sure diploma of stigma related to exiting a contest within the first spherical, and we don’t really feel that that is essentially honest. Everybody can have a foul day in any case, and within the case of members who’re competing of their first competitors, exiting within the first spherical is just not even essentially a failure in any approach. They might nonetheless have gained many precious classes and don’t should have their identify tarnished, for need of a greater phrase, with that. So in an effort to keep away from that, and to encourage extra younger musicians to use for competitions, since we consider that competitions are completely instrumental in serving to musicians develop their ability set, we have now adopted this coverage, throughout all our competitions, not simply Basic Strings. Though unorthodox, we really feel it brings extra advantages than detriments. 


What initiatives do you could have in place to make sure transparency and equity in the course of the voting course of?

At first, the choice of the members of the jury was given a variety of weight, to make sure personalities of the very best integrity and whose prime curiosity is the artistry and expertise of the younger musicians taking part within the competitions.

Secondly, we apply a voting system that ensures minimizing any threat of unfair markings whereas avoiding the chances for preferential therapies. Due to this fact, the very best and lowest factors awarded by particular person jury members to every candidate won’t be counted within the sum of factors awarded. This allows jury members to be as lifelike as potential of their voting, since extreme excessive or low factors would consequence of their contribution being not noted.

Thirdly, however not least, we have now a really tight and strict each day schedule for all jury members, to make sure that they don’t get in any potential contact with members or most people. All meals, transportation, and different actions are organized in such a approach that the jury is at all times secluded and in personal, duly supervised by the massive group working the competitors.


Each candidate within the opening spherical is required to carry out a piece by a Maltese Composer. Are you able to inform us extra about this?

There have been two major causes behind this determination. Firstly, from a purely aggressive facet, we needed to push the opponents out of their consolation zone, in order to extra totally take a look at all elements of their talents. Maltese compositions, because of the small measurement and profile of their nation of origin, are usually not that centrally positioned inside the classical music repertoire, regardless of being of a really excessive musical high quality. By together with them within the obligatory repertoire, we obliged the members to review one thing which is nearly actually new to them and carry out it for the primary time.

The second cause is impressed by some extent I’ve already hinted at, which is that Maltese compositions are usually underrepresented on the worldwide stage, particularly when in comparison with the standard and number of the work that’s produced. Though the primary level of a contest is to not discover new works, we jumped at this chance to hit two birds with one stone and assist to advertise some glorious artists and items who’re actually deserving of it. On this approach, Basic Strings can act as an avenue by means of which younger musicians can uncover new music and broaden their very own data and repertoire. 


Apart from the prize cash, what else do you’re feeling this competitors will be capable to efficiently present to your laureate’s profession success?

Though the prizes for the award winners are substantial, I really consider they don’t seem to be essentially the most precious issues that one can get from this competitors. Performing in a contest setting permits a musician to find extra about themselves and their musical talents than ever earlier than, and no matter whether or not they win or not, all our members may have the distinctive likelihood to carry out in entrance of a few of the largest names in our business and obtain suggestions from these celebrated pedagogues.

Profitable such a contest must also give the laureate the boldness and perception to proceed working exhausting and creating their expertise, and naturally, our eventual winners of each competitions won’t merely be getting cash, however can even be despatched on a 10-concert tour, which to somebody on this stage of their profession, in all probability means greater than any sum of cash. Other than invaluable live performance expertise, this tour will enable them to announce their presence to the music world on the worldwide stage and provides them a singular likelihood to start establishing themselves as acknowledged artists and soloists.