Music lovers from all parts of the world and from Monaco, rushed for one of the important annual musical events at the Opéra Garnier.
The “Monte-Carlo Masters”.

This year is dedicated to the violin , next year voice and 2018 piano.
The impressive jury with the star of the violin Maxim Vengerov presiding, Zakhar Bron (Vengerov’s and Repin’s teacher when they were teenagers).
Boris Brott the famous Canadian conductor and motivational speaker, René Croesi a very important musical personality in Monaco,
Patrice Fontanarosa worldwide soloist and teacher, Jean-Marie Fournier
founder of the Competition , chose Elli Choi and Diana Pasko for the finals.
Franck Ferrand joined the jury as “Candide”.
The “Candide” is not a professional musician, only a music-lover; he represents the public.
Ferrand is a famous historian and the brain of many television shows.

For the final round the candidates have to play Paganini’s Caprice N°24
and then one of the two concertos proposed by the competitor.
To my surprise the jury chose Shostakovich for Elli and Brahms for Diana.
Two masterworks for two completely different musicians.

Elli Choi is very impressive as a fifteen years old and Diana almost double her age is already a trained musician.

Elli played Shostakovich’s concerto with a “huge sound and an incredible projection”. The orchestra part is full of instruments : horns, clarinets, bassoons, tuba, xylophone, celesta, timpani, who can easily cover the violin.
So it demands a very strong violinist and a very good instrument.
When we asked Elli on which instrument she is playing ,we were pleasantly surprised to learn that she plays on a modern violin made by Florian Leonhard.
Elli gives a very good rendition of the Shostakovich.
It is probably her teacher Zakhar Bron, who gave her the keys to understand this very difficult concerto.
I missed sometimes some of the dramatic moments who should take you by the guts, but all in all it was a very exciting performance.

Diana Pasko played beautifully in the second round.
I will never forget her version of Stravinsky’s “Suite Italienne”.
Crispy, witty, full of colors, creative…

Unfortunately I was disappointed with her Brahms.
It was below our expectations.
Why ? Was she tired ?
Anyway she missed it.

The jury had to take the risk to give the Prize to a fifteen year old violinist.
Even that I am always sceptical with “Wunderkinder”, I truly believe
that as it was the case with Maxim Vengerov, hearing him when he was fifteen, Elli is a smart person and will reach her goals.

The Violin Masters 2016 is a good “vintage” !