24TH FLAME Competition: Detector of Young Talents, Support, and Care of Winners

This is a translation by Germaine Tocatlian of an article written by Françoise Ferrand, Musicologist and Editor of ResMusica.com. The original article was written in French and can be found here.

This inconspicuous first rate international music competition, open to every young candidate, is of the highest standard with two age categories: Category A (from 6 years old) and Category B (from 19 to 26 years old). Its success is the result of an outstanding organization and the enthusiasm and generosity of the members of Association FLAME, which for a quarter of a century has offered free admission to all competition selections and final concerts.

Three competitions in one, the FLAME Competition is a challenge that allows the simultaneous performance of three selections: piano is a major discipline along with violin and cello, each having specific juries at the City Hall of Paris, which has cancelled the financial support of the Rostropovich, Rampal, Vatelot and Long competitions.

Creator and founder of the Association with composer Patrice Sciortino, the soul of the competition is its General Secretary, Germaine Tocatlian, known musician, teaching at the Schola Cantorum who combines artistic competence, generosity and a personal care to each candidate, so far away and different of frequent intrigues in this type of event. Perfection, tradition and continuity are the tributes of its success. A similitude in its spirit can be compared (with proportion) to the spirit of Salzburg. To approach in spirits this resemblance, the prestigious Mozarteum Summerakademie has an intense collaboration with FLAME giving the winners the possibility to attend the summer courses and to perform in concerts at the Schloss Mirabell during the Festival period.

Among the winners of previous years include Eric Artz, Tristan Pfaff, David Bismuth with concertist career and among the younger (less than 19 years old) Ingmar Lazar and Jean Paul Gasparian. Among the violinists are Radu Blidar, teaching at the Royal College in London, Julien Szulman, performig with François Dumont and Vanessa Szigeti member of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Among the cellists are Guillaume Martigné and Edgar Moreau, 2nd prize at the 2011 Tchaikowski Competition and “Instrumental revelation at the “Victoires de la Musique Classique” in 2013.

This year, 27 nationalities were represented and among 213 candidates fifteen were selected in category A and B. Each instrument had his own jury presided by Chantal Stigliani (Piano), John Ryan (Cell0) and Paul Roczek (Violin). The accompanists were all concert pianists.

No flowers on stage but numerous colorful little flags of all nationalities at the Marcel Landowski auditorium of the CRR in Paris, more than full of enthusiastic audience.

To follow with care the winners: Nathan Cohen, 8 years old (France) who performed the first Goldberg variation with rare maturity. Frederic Loboda, 13 (Poland-Germany) performed with lyrism and wonderful transitions the difficult Fantasy-impromptu of Chopin. He shared in ex aequo the prize with the outstanding Nagio Maruyama, 14 (Japan) tiny and discreat, who played with a felin lithness the Liszt Campanella. Let’s admire too Nikola Dragovasac in his performance of Rachmaninov Etude-Tableau n°3. In Category B Ilya Ramlav 22 (Russia) impressed in Liszt the “wild hunt” and the sparkling bulgarian Nadejda Tzanova, 26 a valuable and sure promise of career, winner of the first prize.

Ryutaro Suzuki, 20 (Japan) form CNSMP 2nd prize ex aequo with Hyo-Gon Shin, strangely eliminated at the 2nd round of the Marguerite Long competition, is already a very impressing pianist who demonstrated his noble touch in the Debussy Etude n°8.

The Grand Prize in violin was attributed to Hildegre Fesneau (France), former winner in the children FLAME competitions and prize of Adami 2013, played with a prodigious rush the diabolic “Ronde des Lutins”of Bazzini.

The bouquet of these fireworks was presented by three cellists who won the special prizes in their specific categories: Lukas Plag, 16 (Germany)music and body made one in his expressive and maturity performance of the Cassado’s “Requiebros”. Another German, Manuel Lipstein (12) posseses a marvelous colorful and warm musicality. He fascinated the audience in Popper’s Concert-Polonaise. Last, but not least a blue butterfly appeared in a long blue turquoise tutu, Li La, 11 (China) who came up with a real flabergasting brio and moving musical emotion. She performed with an adult strength,besides her little arms, the third movement of Saint-Saëns concerto with impressive maestria.

A very rich idea to alternate in the final concert the different disciplines presenting high level musicians in a competition who serves in all respects a high musical intelligence.

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