It was the youngest final in the history of the competition and brought together young people under 36 from 23 nations. Anisa Dazhaeva, 20 years old and a piano talent, took first place and convinced the jury by dominating the double final: the solo final at the Philharmonic Theatre and the one accompanying the Arena Foundation orchestra.

Three finalists, all from Russia and all very young. In addition to Dazhaeva, there were Maya Oganyan, 17, and Simon Karakulidi, 26. Talents who had the opportunity to play in the 11th edition of the Verona International Piano Competition in front of an international jury composed of the best professionals in the field. Among them were pianists Radomir Melmuka (Czech Republic), Edoardo Strabbioli (Italy), Leslie Howard (Australia/UK), Oxana Shevchenko (Kazakhstan), and Ingrid Fliter (Argentina), as well as competition artistic director Roberto Pegoraro.

Oganyan, Karakulidi and Dazhaeva on stage at the final

45 young talents were picked from a pool of 70 to compete in the competition. The final performance featured the three finalists in a concert accompanied by the Arena Foundation Orchestra’s professional ensemble. Maya Oganyan, who now resides in Venice with her family, was the first to take the stage, performing Beethoven’s Third Concerto in C minor, Op. 37. Following her came Simon Karakulidi, who chose the Bonn’s Fourth Concerto in G major, op. 58. Anisa Dazhaeva, the winner, played Fryderyk Chopin’s First Concerto in E minor, Op. 11, an emblem of the musical Romantic esprit.

The finalists, from left to right: Anisa Dazhaeva, Maya Oganyan, and Simon Karakulidi

The competition prizes

The winner received 5,000 euros and a recording contract with the Fluente Records label worth 3,000 euros for recording, publishing, and distributing a digital record. Dazhaeva also received the Radomìr Melmuka prize for the best performance of the concerto presented in the final round with orchestra, the prize awarded by the junior jury composed of fifth-grade students from the Liceo Musicale Carlo Montanari, and the jury’s Enrico Paganuzzi prize.

Maya Oganyan, on the other hand, was awarded the Laura Scaratti prize for the best female talent in the competition, while Simon Karakulidi was awarded the Ugo Giorgio Bademer prize for the performance of the best romantic piece. Finally, the Vincenzo Ferrari Classical Sonata Prize, for the best sonata presented in the semifinal round, was awarded to Vietnamese Ho Khanh Van.