CULTURE

Young soloists to compete for Maria Callas award

Some 37 young pianists from 21 different countries will take part in the 32nd International Maria Callas Grand Prix 2006 competition, organized by the Athenaeum International Arts Center to run from tomorrow to March 11, in cooperation with the City of Athens Cultural Center and under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture. The Athenaeum opened in 1974, and the following year it organized a competition in piano and opera, which later grew to become the Maria Callas Grand Prix, established in 1994 and gaining a reputation over the years for the high standard of performance it sets for entrants and winning the right to award a Grand Prix by UNESCO. The international jury of the competition comprises esteemed artists from around the world, this year including Greek pianist Aris Garoufalis. The entrants were selected from 63 applications for their virtuosity and for their ability to properly execute a set program. For this year’s competition, the young musicians will have to perform seven concertos for piano and orchestra by well-known composers from the time of Mozart to the 20th century. The competition is carried out in four cycles in the presence of an audience and the jury. In the first cycle, to be held at the Goethe Institute of Athens from tomorrow to Friday, the contestants will present three pieces selected by themselves, accompanied by one more piano. In the second cycle, at the same venue on Friday and Saturday, they will have to perform a recital of up to 50 minutes in length and in the semifinals (Athens Concert Hall, 8 and 9 March) the jury will ask them to perform at least one complete work. In the finals (also at the Athens Concert Hall, on March 11), the four artists who have made the grade will perform an entire piece with the accompaniment of a second piano. The awards are: the Grand Prix (12,000 euros), second prize (6,000 euros) and third (3,000 euros).