The Virtuosos V4+ classical music talent show came to an end with some wonderful performances. The final on the 17th of December saw 2-2 semi-finalists from Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Croatia: Milena Piorunska and Milosz Bachonko from Poland, Kiara Janko and Ivan Petrovic-Poljak from Croatia, Áron Braun and Vilmos Oláh from Hungary, Miriam Minková and Ryan Martin Bradshaw from Slovakia and Daniel Matejca and Martin Sadílek from the Czech Republic.
The young artists’ performances were judged by a professional jury of representatives from the participating countries. The Czech Gabriela Boháčová, director of the Krumlov Classical Music Festival, opera singer Erika Miklósa, Slovak conductor-pianist Peter Valentovič, Polish opera singer Alicja Węgorzewska and Croatian guitarist Petar Čulić were replaced by Croatian star cellist HAUSER for the final.
HAUSER has been with the young virtuosos from the beginning of the race, so this is not the first time he has seen them. Before the final, the cellist said he expected the contestants to touch the souls of the judges with their music.
The super jury was the world-famous opera singer Maestro Plácido Domingo. The talented youngsters also had a new mentor before the final, Italian pianist Sergio Kuhlmann. As throughout the competition, the young virtuosos were accompanied on stage by the Dohnányi Ernő Orchestra of Budafok, conducted by Gábor Hollerung.
First up was the Croatian pianist Ivan Petrovic-Poljak, who performed an excerpt from the third movement of Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor, opus No 16. Croatian jury member HAUSER said he had seen a confident performance throughout, while Slovakian pianist Peter Valentovič described Ivan as a prodigious talent who also conducted the orchestra very well, which was brilliant for a pianist of his age.
Next came the Czech Martin Sadílek on harp. He performed solo, without orchestra Marcel Tournier’s Féerie. Gabriela Boháčová appreciated Martin’s solo performance and his enormous talent, combined with his charisma. Erika Miklósa said the performance was amazing, honest, professional, virtuosic, and natural, the music just flowed. HAUSER called Martin the magician of the harp, who led them into a world of magical sounds.
Polish Milosz Bachonko took to the stage with his own composition. The 11-year-old accordion player was accompanied by an orchestra. Polish opera singer Alicja Węgorzewska thanked Milosz for taking them into his world, a world of imagination, where he showed them his musicality and his enormous talent. Peter Valentovič said that this fantastic performance could inspire many children to take up music. Maestro Plácido Domingo said that Milosz’s performance was wonderful and that it would be great if he could show it to everyone. Gabriela Boháčová called the young accordionist very brave for playing his own piece in front of Domingo and millions of viewers.
Milosz was followed on stage by Miriam Minková. The Slovak violin virtuoso played an excerpt from Vitali’s Chaconne in G minor. According to Slovak pianist Peter Valentovič, Miriam performed a very beautiful and impressive piece with strong musicality. Erika Miklósa said she was moved by Miriam’s performance, she played very well with a lot of emotion. Maestro Domingo also said that Miriam played very well, she showed a lot of herself, with really sweet melodies from a very versatile performer. HAUSER confessed that the violin was a very difficult instrument and congratulated Miriam for having the courage to perform such a piece.
Next Hungarian Áron Braun was performing on marimba an excerpt from Mozart’s Turkish march. Maestro Domingo said Áron is a great musician with a bright career ahead of him. Erika Miklósa said that she heard Mozart chuckling because his aim was to reach as many people as possible with his music and with Áron’s help he has succeeded in doing that, reaching millions of people and making them feel close to classical music. According to the Hungarian opera singer, Áron was a special performer, his show was professional, it was real music and boogie. Mozart looked down from the sky with a smile, said HAUSER, and added that if Mozart had known the marimba, he would certainly not have written anything for piano. Gabriella Boháčová said that Áron was a real showman and his performance was brilliant.
The Czech Daniel Matejca entered the stage next and performed the second movement of Sergei Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto in D major. According to Gabriella Boháčová, Daniel is a genius who has performed this music as no one has ever done before. She also announced that she would officially invite Daniel Matejca to the Krumlov Classical Music Festival. Peter Valentovič said that the scherzo is one of the most difficult genres on the violin, and Daniel’s intonations and bowing were absolutely stunning and extraordinary. HAUSER said it was incredible how he had complete control of his instrument, of the notes. Daniel’s playing is diverse, full of contrast, energy, and he performed a classical piece like a rock star, and that’s the hardest thing to do. Domingo added that Prokofiev wrote wonderful music and Daniel played it beautifully.
Another Croatian virtuoso, Kiara Janko, took to the stage, playing an excerpt from Frank Angelis’ Paraphrase on a Piazzola Theme “Chiquin de Bachin” on accordion. According to HAUSER, the pianissimo passages of the performance were captivating, Kiara transported the jury to South America, putting them in a hypnotic state. Meastro Domingo called the performance fantastic.
Next came the Hungarian guitar virtuoso Vilmos Oláh, who performed Roland Dyens’ Libra Sonatine, solo, without orchestral accompaniment. Erika Miklósa was absolutely ecstatic. Incredible technical stability and great emotion appeared at once in Vilmos’ playing. According to Alicja Węgorzewska, Vilmos has a hypnotic presence on stage and pays attention to detail. HAUSER, watching the performance, said that he thinks Vilmos’ girlfriend is first and foremost the guitar, but he made a personal confession, saying that his girlfriend is indeed his cello. According to the cellist, the guitar is part of Vilmos’ body, and it is a pleasure to watch him play it. Maestro Domingo says that Vilmos is a great artist and has promised the Hungarian guitarist, a Real Madrid fan, that he will perform at the Real Madrid stadium.
The Polish violinist Milena Piorunska performed an excerpt from Fabtasie brillante on the theme of Gounod’s “Faust” by Polish composer Henryk Wieniawski. According to Alicja Węgorzewska, Milena did not play music but sang on stage, it was a great performance, she was not frightened from the details that were more technically challenging. HAUSER said it was a difficult piece, but the way Milena played it made it seem very easy, which is very hard to believe, and she played this difficult part with as much charm, fire and musicality as if she were singing opera on the violin.
Last up was Ryan Martin Bradshaw from Slovakia, who performed an excerpt from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto in B flat minor, movement III. After the performance, Slovak pianist Peter Valentovič said that Ryan was one of the greatest talents he had ever seen. Ryan deserves all the respect, he is a tremendous talent, you see such talent every 50-100 years.
According to Gabriela Boháčová, this piece is known by everyone on the jury, but never heard performed so fantastically. HAUSER said it was incredible that someone could be such an accomplished musician at the age of 14. Alicja Węgorzewska said she felt helpless, Ryan made her cry, and not just because of his technique: Ryan and the piano were a complete match. Maestro Domingo said that Ryan gave a magnificent performance, full of emotion and harmony, playing beautifully with the orchestra. Erika Miklósa said that Ryan could be the symbol of Virtuosos V4+ because he embodies her vision of the competition.
The competition was followed by an extra performance: the music of the Godfather performed by the Croatian cello star and jury member HAUSER.
Speaking before the results were announced, Maestro Plácido Domingo said that it was impressive to see how well prepared these young artists were and that they must have very good teachers, whom he congratulated.
– These are difficult times, but music triumphs overall problems and you will make people happy when you play for them. You have a wonderful career ahead of you, I wish you all the best and I am very proud of you. Those of you who didn’t win didn’t lose, because you came second in a truly extraordinary competition, and you will all remember the Virtuosi forever,” said Maestro Domingo.
Winners of Virtuosos V4+ 2021:
Áron Braun, Hungary
Ivan Petrovic-Poljak, Croatia
Ryan Martin Bradshaw, Slovakia
Daniel Matejca, Czech Republic
Milosz Bachonko, Poland
The winners received a gross prize of €10,000 each.
The runners-up received a special prize from MTVA, a joint performance with the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.
The special prize of the Dohnányi Ernő Orchestra of Budafok went to Daniel Matejca. He will perform with the orchestra in a joint concert next year.
The young violinist Richard Kollert from the Czech Republic, who did not reach the finals, also received a prize for his outstanding talent: he will perform at the New Year’s concert of the Dohnányi Ernő Orchestra Budafok and will play a joint concert with Maestro Domingo. In addition, Richard Kollert won a cash prize of €5,000 awarded jointly by Gabriela Boháčová and the Virtuosos founding producer Mariann Peller.