ZBSM student Ilva Eigus won the Nutcracker 2020

13-year-old Ilva Eigus, violin student of the Zakhar Bron School of Music (studio of Liana Tretiakova), won the 1st prize at the Nutcracker, the annual international television contest for young musicians held in Moscow, Russia, from 1 to 8 December. For the first time in its 21-year history, the competition was won by a Swiss participant.

The Nutcracker International Music Competition – named after the famous ballet by Russian composer Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – is one of the most prestigious music competitions for young musicians (up to 14 years old) in the world. This year, 48 participants from 23 countries were selected from hundreds of applicants from around the globe to compete in three categories: piano (1), string instruments (2), wind and percussion instruments (3).

The competition consisted of three parts: the first round, the second round and the final. Based on their performances in the first round, the international jury selected eight of the 16 participants in each category for the second round. Then, in the second round, the three best contestants were selected for the final – in which they performed on the stage of the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall with the Moscow Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Mikhail Shekhtman. The final was broadcast live on national TV and online for millions of viewers around the world.

For the first time in the 21-year history of the competition, the final was won by a participant from Switzerland – Ilva Eigus. Since the age of four, Ilva has been determined to become a professional violinist. In 2011 she began her violin studies at the Zakhar Bron School of Music in Zurich in the studio of Liana Tretiakova, whose student she has been ever since. Since the age of seven, she has also regularly attended violin master classes with Professor Bron – at his academy in Interlaken and elsewhere.

Ilva has appeared as a soloist with various orchestras in Switzerland and abroad, played in dozens of concerts and won numerous national and international competitions (including the Swiss Youth Music Competition). However, her victory at the Nutcracker Competition is her greatest achievement to date.

In the first round Ilva played two pieces by Tchaikovsky: Valse-Scherzo and Valse Sentimental (accompanied by Elena Popkova, piano, Moscow). In the second round she played the first (Obsession) and fourth movements (Les Furies) from the second sonata for solo violin by Belgian violinist and composer Eugène Ysaÿe. In the final round, Ilva won the competition with the last movement from Concerto No. 3 in B minor for violin and orchestra by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns.

Our heartfelt congratulations to Ilva, to her violin teacher Liana and to all who supported us in this historic moment!

Photo credit: Vadim Shults