MOSCOW VIOLIN CONTEST WILL BRING YOUNG TALENTS INTO NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT, ORGANIZERS SAY

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MOSCOW, October 27 (RIA Novosti's Maria Tupoleva) - The 2nd Paganini Violin Competition will be running in Moscow November 22 through December 1. Today, marking Niccolo Paganini's 222nd birth anniversary, RIA Novosti hosted a preview press conference with Culture Minister Alexander Sokolov, the Violin Performance Foundation's Maxim Viktorov, and the acclaimed Russian violinist Sergei Stadler, who chairs the contest's jury.

Moscow, deservedly ranked among the world's capitals of violin music, has until recently had no authoritative violin performance contest of its own. The Paganini Competition will be the one, its organizers hope.

As Stadler pointed out at today's press conference, the competition's main aim is to help talented young violinists-and there are quite a few such talents across Russia-get into the national spotlight. Provincial musicians may have no money to travel to Moscow, so the Violin Performance Foundation has undertaken to cover the travel and accommodation expenses of all the participants in the Paganini Competition.

The contest has one single selection criterion-the quality of a musician's performance. Musicians 14 years old and above can take part. There is no top age limit for the participants.

So far, thirty violinists have applied for participation in this year's event. The applications will be accepted through November 12.

The Paganini Competition will have two rounds, apart from the qualifiers. The top three musicians will be picked out by the Stadler-chaired panel of jurors. The winners will be offered statuettes representing Paganini with a violin, as well as monetary awards (the contest's prize money totals 24,000 US dollars).

At the Foundation's suggestion, a participant "with charisma" (not necessarily one of the three winners) will be awarded a Grand-Prix-the right to play a Stradivari for one year's time. The unique violin will be granted for temporary use by the Russian State Collection of Musical Instruments.

The 1st Paganini Contest did not receive much media attention at home, and was duly covered by foreign media only. But this time around, the situation will change for the better, the organizers assure. "This year, we are going to stage an event the Russian press will just be unable to ignore," Viktorov said.

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