Yesterday at the MECMA: Young Classical Star - Piano Concerto

Yesterday at the MECMA: Talented young performer Ivan Bessonov performed alongside the Kaliningrad Symphony Orchestra, with the Academy's masterclasses and lessons continuing throughout the day. 

As part of the EUFSC and SAMIT’s efforts to promote high quality musical education, this year’s edition of InClassica is also incorporating the inaugural edition of the Middle East Classical Music Academy (MECMA), taking place from the 4th to the 23rd of September. This educational initiative features three weeks of lectures, discussions and masterclasses in the schools of piano, wind, and strings, led by a roster of international professors and music pedagogues consisting of some of the most illustrious names active today. In addition, the MECMA is also presenting a series of daytime concerts featuring soloists, orchestras, and prodigies from all around the world, with select Academy students being offered the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of joining these artists in live performance on stage.

Yesterday at MECMA


Trumpet masterclass • Andrey Zdunyuk
Horn masterclass • Hagai Sholom
Violin masterclass • Graf Mourja
Piano masterclass • Giuliano Mazzoccante
Cello masterclass • Dmitry Yablonsky

Quotes from Professors:

Dmitry Yablonsky
- How has your experience of the masterclasses been?

“Very very nice. The girl that was just here, she’s just 12 years old, she’s delightful, just wonderful, very eager to learn and it’s always a pleasure and an honour, honestly, for us old folks to see the youngsters who are so eager to learn cello. It’s really nice to see that there are still some families who prioritise giving their children something that they love and which isn’t necessarily something for them to use but just to enjoy.”

- The MECMA is the first initiative of its kind in this region, and itself is only part of a larger project which encapsulates a music festival and a classic piano competition. What do you think of the scale of this event, especially in a place like Dubai?

“It’s really quite remarkable that this whole festival is even happening! And I can barely call it just a festival, it’s an entire marathon, an Olympic feat! It has absolutely everything, all the orchestras, the fantastic soloists – and the kids have the chance to go to the concerts so that’s the most important thing because they can see every day the soloists of different instruments, and different orchestras. Such an experience impacts your whole life.

"It’s a huge financial investment to organise such an incredible festival but at the same time it’s an investment in the future of the younger generation who hopefully will be musicians, but if not, will be our future public. It’s really fantastic and remarkable that the Foundation and SAMIT are doing these things, and especially here in Dubai, which is the last frontier in the world for classical music. Dubai and classical music don’t go together but you have to start at some point, and people will comment and say that it’s impossible but little by little things grow. If a person or a company is stubborn and willing enough, like Konstantin Ishkhanov, then all things can happen.”

- How beneficial do you think it is that the Academy is also incorporating a series of lunchtime concerts where the students can attend and even, in certain cases, perform on stage with the orchestra?

“It’s a really great concept. It’s so great for these kids to have this experience with everything included. It’s the way it should be. I wish we had even more of these events really. Unfortunately, financially speaking people say it’s a total loss, but it’s not, it’s an incredible investment in the future.”

How has your experience been from an organisational perspective?
“Organisation here is amazing, too good! There is nothing at all to complain about. I am used to being left alone more, but here we are immensely looked after and everything is going very smoothly.”

Daytime concert: Piano Concerto

Ivan Bessonov (piano)

“Today I performed the suite for piano and symphony orchestra by Alexey Shor ‘From my Bookshelf’. It contains several famous characters of world literature - Cinderella, Don Quixote, Tom Sawyer, etc. Of course, this is a great experience for me, first of all, the experience of getting acquainted with modern music, mainly I play works of the 18th to twentieth centuries. And now such an essay has appeared in my luggage. For an encore, we played the 9th piece from this cycle, composed specifically for the encore performance — ‘Farewell Nocturne’.”

“This is my first time playing with the Kaliningrad Symphony Orchestra and maestro Conrad van Allen, and I have very vivid impressions. Such a voluminous 40-minute essay should be prepared in a short time - these are great professionals in their field.”

Conrad Van Alphen

“It was actually a very nice, warm performance, and I enjoyed working with the young soloists. They’re still very pure and the way they play is also very pure which sometimes makes it very interesting because it’s not always very easy to accompany a young soloist but it makes it special.”

“I enjoyed Shor’s "From My Bookshelf" very much; I’ve done many of his compositions and I think this is definitely one of the most beautiful ones, one of the deeper ones I think.”

“Everything went wonderfully with the orchestra, it was great. We understood each other from the first minute so it was easy to work with them.”

Kaliningrad Symphony Orchestra

Academy students selected to participate in the concert:

Astghik Ghukasyan (piano)

Students’ Programme:

W. A. Mozart - Concerto No. 20 in D Minor, 1st movement


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