March 11, 2008

Daniela Shtereva and the Strange Animal known as the International Music Competition

Pianist Van Cliburn was recently profiled in a New York Times article chronicling both his career and the 50th anniversary of his victory at the first Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition. In this article, which is both well written and insightful, the author states that "It could be argued that Mr. Cliburn’s Moscow victory spawned an industry of sorts, the modern musical competition, which has had a profound, and not benign, impact on musical education and career arcs."

While I have yet to form an opinion about these events, I have had the pleasure of meeting and befriending violinist Daniela Shtereva (above) who, over the past four years, has been on the competition circuit. Over the past three years she has won three competitions (Washington International, Chicago Society of American Musicians, and the Lynn University National Violin Competition)and made the semifinals of FOUR major international events (Sibelius, Indianapolis, Michael Hill World Competition and Sarasate).

Taking the best of herself to every situation, Daniela has been performing across the world to well-deserved critical and audience acclaim. Judges praised her performance in the 2007 Lynn University National Violin Competition, and she made a very "strong impression" at the 2007 Seattle Chamber Music Festival. Later that year a commentator for The Strad wrote, upon the announcement of the finalists in the 2007 Michael Hill World Violin Competition, that "Shtereva's exclusion from the finals was inexplicable."

How a performer can be "on a roll" and later blithely excluded from a final round is something of an enigma....being undeterred, however - as well as humble - Daniela recently placed third in the William Byrd Young Artists Competition and is enjoying a continuously expanding concert career.

Daniela will be performing with the Redlands Symphony Orchestra this weekend, and in a recent article published in the Redlands Daily Facts, Daniela speaks quite candidly about her life, career, and approach. Reading this article I found myself very happy to see more of her great spirit and work ethic, and am both humbled and proud to call her my friend. Should you have an opportunity to hear Daniela in concert, by all means go....


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