23-year-old Italian beats off competition from nine other finalists to claim €30,000 prize

Italian pianist Alexander Gadjiev has won the jury’s approval at this year’s Monte-Carlo Piano Masters, beating off competition from nine of the best young pianists from all over Europe. Gadjiev was awarded the €30,000 prize after a gruelling week of competition, culminating in the grand finale on Saturday 6th October. His rendition of Rachmaninov’s third concerto in minor D – reputed to be one of the most technically-challenging pieces of music ever written – was accompanied by the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra and did enough to convince the jury of his victory.

Saturday’s event was the climax of months of hard work, as Gadjiev overcame the myriad conditions placed on the competition’s participants and saw off the challenge of scores of other prodigious young piano talents. To compete in the Monte-Carlo Piano Masters, an entrant must first have won another international prize, making it a “best of the best” contest. Entrants must also be under 40 years of age, and must come through a number of preliminary heats before qualifying for last week’s finals. The last hurdle took place throughout the week, with the quarter finals on Tuesday, the semis on Wednesday and the competition showpiece on Saturday.

On the night in question, Gadjiev beat off the challenge of nine other excellent pianists from countries as diverse as Russia, Belgium, France and Belarus to win the jury’s approval. The jury itself was composed of eight individuals from different backgrounds, united by a shared love of classical music. The competition’s founder, Jean-Marie Fournier, was among them, as was the founding president of the Vigan Festival Christian Debrus, former director of the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra René Croési and several prominent pianists. The lay person on the jury, chosen to represent the public, was Formula 1 legend Thierry Boutsen, whose vote had equal weighting with his fellow jurors and which helped Gadjiev to the title.

Of course, Gadjiev is no stranger to competitive success, having claimed the IX Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in December 2015 (which qualified him to enter for this tournament). He also won the Premio Venezia at just 18 years on, which catapulted him onto the international stage and allowed him to tour extensively throughout Europe and beyond. In his short but brilliant career, he has already worked with some of the world’s best orchestras and conductors and played in the most prestigious opera houses to be found anywhere. His latest endeavours have won him a victory concert tour in France and beyond, so the story is only just starting for this bright talent of the piano world.