Israeli Violinist Shares Top Award at International Music Competition

Israeli violinist Itamar Zorman ties for second place at International Tchaikovsky Competition, with no one taking first despite competition rules.

Israeli violinist Itamar Zorman and Russian violinist Sergey Dogadin both took second place in their category at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The Tchaikovsky competition, which ended Friday, did not award a first prize this time in the violin category; instead, judges awarded the second prize of 1,000 euros to both Zorman and Dogadin.

Itamar Zorman

The decision not to award a first prize ostensibly goes against the rules of the competition as published on its official website.

Yesterday, Zorman said by phone from Moscow that it is still unclear whether he and Dogadin will share the prize money. Zorman - who is the son of pianist Esterit Baltzan and composer Moshe Zorman - has studied with David Chen, Nava Milo and Hagai Shaham, and is now studying at Juilliard in New York City.

Dogadin was the only Russian among the five finalists in his category.

The young Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov won the gold medal in his category.

Trifonov won first prize at the Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition a few weeks ago in Tel Aviv. He has been well known in Israel since he took part in the Tel Hai workshop for young pianists at Sde Boker.

The award comes with a prize of 20,000 euros.

The silver medal in the piano category went to the South Korean Yeol Eum Son.

The gold medals for male and female vocal artists both went to musicians from South Korea.

The gold medal for cellists went to the Armenian musician Narek Hakhnazaryan. The cello competition was marred when, during rehearsals with the orchestra, the conductor Mark Gorenstein insulted Hakhnazaryan by telling the orchestra, "Don't listen to what this 'talented' [provincial] boy says. You should listen to me."

The competition's leadership released a statement denouncing the remark, and Gorenstein apologized.

The Tchaikovsky Competition, held every four years, was founded more than 50 years ago. This time, more than 120 young musicians took part in its four categories. Previous winners have gone on to worldwide fame, including American pianist Harvey Lavan Van Cliburn, who took part in the first competition in 1958.