The Musica Nova Russian-British Music Academy has been a thriving music education establishment for many years. Situated in London, it was founded by Russian pianist, singer, teacher, composer and educator Evgenia Terentieva, who is also the CEO. Evgenia’s academy offers a broad spectrum of music tuition from instrumental lessons, to one day intensive courses, plus copious performance platforms for students, and taught in both Russian and English.
The Academy offers a yearly competition for all age groups with various performance classes, including those for pop, folk, classical music, and dance. The contest, known as Stars of the Albion Maslenitsa, took place on Saturday, and was held at the concert hall of the Mission of Rossotrudnichestvo in Kensington High Street, London. I was fortunate to be invited as a jury member and it was an extremely interesting event. The panel consisted of twelve judges with members from the UK, Italy, France and a selection of Russian speaking countries.
There were three categories, or age groups, which were sub-divided into singers, instrumentalists and ensembles. Starting from the very young (the youngest competitor was five!), through to adult competitors, as well as a professional category. I was surprised by the diversity and breadth of performers, from Russian folk singers, to pop singers, classical singers, musical theatre singers, dancers, and a wonderful group of Russian folklore dancers from Leeds, as well as a collection of instrumentalists. Most of the performers were of Russian speaking origin, although there were a smattering of UK entrants. This is only the third year of the competition, and it is hoped that the event will attract an increasingly international group of participants.
Beautifully presented by Evgenia (pictured above), the large audience mostly consisted of family members and teachers. An important criteria was attire and general presentation, and there were some spectacular costumes and colourful dresses. The general standard was high, with several outstanding performances.
As the afternoon drew to a close, the judges had the difficult task of nominating winners. I have never before been a member of such a large jury panel, having previously worked on my own or with one or two colleagues. Let’s just say it took a long time! Eventually, prizes were awarded and some talented young players have been offered exciting new opportunities. Contests such as this provide the perfect foil for performers to develop and hone their craft, and they also offer a superb occasion to celebrate the many facets of the performing arts.
Melanie Spanswick has written and published a wide range of courses, anthologies, examination syllabuses, and text books, including Play it again: PIANO (published by Schott Music). This best-selling graded, progressive piano course contains a large selection of repertoire featuring a huge array of styles and genres, with copious practice tips and suggestions for every piece.
For more information, please visit the publications page, here.