Vitaly Samoshko

“Pianist From Ukraine Is Top Finisher At Montreal’s International Music Competition”

Posted in Press clippings by fvc on September 29, 1996

Pianist From Ukraine Is Top Finisher At Montreal’s International Music Competition
Claudette Berthiaume-Zavada
The Ukrainian Weekly
September 29, 1996, No. 39, Vol. LXIV

MONTREAL – “From Ukraine – Vitaliy Samoshko!” Not so long ago, the same candidate would have been presented as “From the USSR – Vitaliy Samoshko!” Indeed, four years ago, in 1992, Mr. Samoshko, 18 years old at the time, not only was the youngest candidate and finalist at the Sydney (Australia) International Piano Competition, but was the first to represent Ukraine in the history of that competition.

After the competition in Australia, Mr. Samoshko had a wonderful time meeting Ukrainians in Sydney; he was surprised to meet so many of them and to notice their enthusiasm and support.

On May 27-June 8, Montreal’s musical life was focused on the 26th International Music Competition, devoted this year to the piano. Forty-two candidates from 17 countries were enrolled in the competition. Of the 26 participants in the first round, 12 were selected for the second round and six were accepted for the final round. The 22-year-old Mr. Samoshko ranked first among the most talented pianists in the world, all in their 20s.

The jury was composed of six renowned pianists and pedagogues: Idil Biret (Turkey), Sergei Dorensky (Russia), Marc Durand (Canada), Valentin Gheorghiu (Romania), Israela Margilit (Israel) and Julian Martin (United States).

For the 11th time in the history of this prestigious competition, no first prize had been awarded this year. Therefore, Mr. Samoshko, who obtained the highest marks, was awarded the second prize of $10,000 (Canadian), followed by the Australian Duncan Gifford and the Russian Anton Mordasov.

Mr. Samoshko’s superb interpretation of Rachmanoff’s third Concerto Op. 30 in D minor was the highlight of the entire competition, revealing the marvelous potential of this young pianist, who gives life and emotion to every note he plays.

Excerpts of Mr. Samoshko’s concert performances at Place des Arts in Montreal were aired on CBC Radio across Canada.

Born in Kharkiv, Mr. Samoshko began his musical studies at the age of 5 and was accepted into a music school for gifted children. From grade 5, he studied piano with Prof. Leonid Margarius and pursued his musical studies with the same teacher at the Institute of Arts in Kharkiv. Prof. Margarius was one of the best students of Regina Horowitz (sister of Vladimir Horowitz), who lived in Kharkiv and made her career as a pianist and piano teacher.

A laureate of the Lysenko National Competition in Kyiv in 1989 and finalist at the Sydney (Australia) International Piano Competition in 1992, Mr. Samoshko won the second prize of the prestigious Busoni International Competition in Italy, where he also received three special awards for the best interpretations of the Beethoven Sonata, the Concerto and the Liszt Études. More recently, he was laureate of the Pretoria International Music Competition in South Africa (1994) and won second prize in the Senigalia International Piano Competition in Italy (1995).

To win the prize at the Montreal Competition (highly quoted and one of the most difficult among the international music competitions), Mr. Samoshko had to perform 16 masterpieces of the piano repertoire, ranging from Bach to contemporary music and including one by a composer of his country (he performed Zolotuhin’s prelude in the “blues” style), a mandatory piece by a Canadian composer especially written for the competition that had to be learned that within one month, and two concertos.

Mr. Samoshko’s affinity for romantic music is obvious. His repertoire also includes works by Mykola Lysenko, Viktor Kosenko and other Ukrainian composers.

Modest and unpretentious, Mr. Samoshko has a pleasant personality. He loves to participate in international competitions and meet with other pianists and people from around the world. Although he likes to travel, he likes to return home often to be with his parents, family and friends. His favorite hobbies are soccer and fishing. When asked to express a wish, he said he would like to give concerts in Canada and the United States and play for the Ukrainians there.

Currently, Mr. Samoshko is continuing his music studies at the prestigious Accademia Pianistica in Imola, Italy, under the direction of Prof. Margarius and Lazar Berman. This institution also offers him the opportunity to participate in master classes with the most prominent pianists of the world.

Dr. Claudette Berthiaume-Zavada is on the faculty of music at the University of Montreal.
Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly

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