The Postacchini 2018 award goes to the Ukrainian Udovychenko
by Marco Bizzarini
Very clear statements during the 25th edition of the Postacchini International Violin Competition, hosted in Fermo from 19 to 26 May 2018. Dmytri Udovychenko, a 19-year-old Ukrainian participant, has been proclaimed the winner of all the competition. He is the winner of category C, reserved to those born between 1997 and 2001. To him goes the Chamber of Commerce of Fermo Award. Moreover he received a violin made by the luthier Alberto Dolce from Florence and a bow made by the bow maker Walter Barbiero.
Udovychenko is not new to prestigious statements abroad, as a matter of fact last year he ranked second in the Heifetz Competition in Vilnius, Lithuania. In Fermo, the Ukrainian artist has confirmed that he is on the right path to be one of the protagonists of the next musical scenario. On the closing night of the competition, he showed all his technical confidence playing a difficult nineteenth-century study for solo violin: Theme and Variations on Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst’s “The Last Rose of Summer”, that contains a dedication to the virtuoso Antonio Bazzini. The bicentenary of his birth exactly falls this year. Udovychenko showed a stunning virtuosity without forgetting the intensity of a beautiful singable sound.
Thanks to its several distinctive features, the Postacchini Competition, supported by the cultural association “Antiqua Marca Firmana”, stands out from other international competitions. First of all, its partition into four categories allows the youngest instrumentalists (from 8 years old) to give themselves a challenge. What is surely interesting is that a particularly talented child could be the winner of all the competition. Moreover, despite an annual periodicity, the number of competitors from around the world is always high. This year 139 participants take part to the competition that celebrates a quarter-century. For a week the city of the Marche Region has been pacifically invaded by a little army of violinists who have flooded the streets of the old town with their music.
The tourist who has arrived in Fermo for the first time can only be surprised at the beauty of the ancient architectures and at the pleasantness of the landscape around him and of the hills between the Adriatic Sea and the Sibillini mountains. During the competition, we have been able to admire a little but precious exhibition of the fifteenth-century painting of Fermo (opened until 2 September) to remember Carlo and Vittore Crivelli’s long-lasting stay in the Marche Region. Noteworthy is that in the fifteenth-century the city of Fermo was controlled by Francesco Sforza, future master of Milan. The inhabitants did not like his administration at all and they decided to destroy the majestic fortress he had built on the top of the hill.
The history of Fermo also counts important music events because in 1781 the eminent luthier Andrea Postacchini was born there. (It is not a coincident that the competition is called “A. Postacchini”). He is well-known as the Stradivari of the Marche Region. Concerning the eighteenth-century Teatro dell’Aquila, that every year hosts the rehearsal of the competition, we know that in August 1886 it hosted a performance of Puccini’s “Le Villi”, with which he introduced himself in the crowded agony of the Italian opera.
On 25 May, we followed with vivid interest the finals of category D (from 22 to 35 years old) and B (from 12 to 16 years old). Both the first and the second categories had a number of participants uncommonly high (nearly ten), but we were quite sure of the difference between who would have won and the rest of the group. The talented official pianists Michelangelo Carbonara, Fabio Centanni and Annalisa Londero had the duty to accompany the competitors during their performances. In category D, the 25-year-old South-Korean violinist Gyehee Kim, triumphantly beat the other participants with a mature performance of the Brahms’ Concert, in line with some of the most famous solo artists of this period. The 20-year-old Kazak Ruslan Turuntayev, who ranked second, is a very talented violinist. He did not lose heart even when, during Brahms’ first stage, a string of his violin broke. The third place went to the Japanese Akiko Ueno, who played Čajkovskij’s Concert. She also received the special award in memory of Guerriero Santori. Other participants of category D received recognitions: the 24-year-old Larissa Cidlinsky, one of the favourites, received not only the Ansbach Award (twin city of Fermo) for the best German competitor but also the Comitato d’Onore Award for the best performance of Bach. The Italian Stefano Farulli received the award for the best performance of Paganini’s Capricci. The winner of category B is the Dutch Michael Germer whose repertoire was very authentic. He has played with surprising confident the Szymanowski’s “Nocturne and Tarantella Op. 28” and the four Shostakovich’s Preludes for violin and piano from Op. 34. Very impressive was the 12-year-old Swiss Raphael Nussbaumer’s performance too. He gained a very deserved silver medal for the performance of the first stage of Beethoven’s Sonata n. 30 and Wieniawski’s Theme original varié Op. 15. The Russian Mikhail Usov ranked, instead, third whit a performance of the first stage of Čajkovskij’s Concert. The other finalists, even if they successfully played very impressive pieces, did not seem to have the same winners’ competence. Regarding category C, the golden register of the competition is completed by Patricia Cordero Beltran’s second place, who was applauded for her performance of the Saint-Saëns Rondo Capriccioso, and by Songao Wu’s third place. Concerning category A, the winners are: the 11-year-old Bulgarian Viktor Vasilev, followed by the English Sofia Demetriades and Maximus Chia from Singapore. Seeing these young performers is always touching and what is surprising is how they are capable of manage their emotions during the performance with a mature professionality.
The award ceremony took place on Saturday 26 May at the Teatro dell’Aquila and was presented by Matteo Caccia from Rai Radio2. He strongly believes that the Italian province is “avantgarde, not rear-guard” and that it can promote prestigious and successful events. The public has been fully engaged more during this event than during the preliminary rehearsal and the finals. During the ceremony, the mayor of Fermo Paolo Calcinaro proudly underlined the goal of the twenty-five editions.
Presided by the American Renée Leah Jolles, the renowned jury is composed by the Italians Felice Cusano and Marco Fiorini, the Russian Sergei Kravchenko, the Polish Krzysztof Wegrzyn, the Chinese Nan Xie and the French Pierre-Henri Xuéreb. “This last edition confirms the high level of the competitors. The Postacchini Competition continues to play a very important role, because it allows even to the youngest violinists to learn from each other, in addition to receive useful indications by the jury” proudly said Renée Jolles.
For the 2018-19 season there are some concerts, which bring the winners of the Postacchini to San Ginesio, Osimo, Milan, Verona, Camogli, Montecatini Terme and other Italian cities.
Inaccurate dates and minor imperfections inspected by Roberto Perticarà, translation of Sara Montanaro.