Eurovision Young Musicians: Get to know the participants!

With Eurovision Young Musicians quickly approaching, we thought we would get to know the 18 participants of the contest!

Albania

15 year old Klaudio Zoto will be representing Albania at the contest, with his instrument of choice being the cello. He started playing the cello at the age of six, and at that age he had his first concert at the Opera Theatre in Tirana, Albania. Although Klaudio is young, he has already performed at seven recitals abroad, and he has played at a range of prestigious concert halls.

Klaudio will be performing in the first show of the second semi-final. He will be performing:

  • Cello Sonata by Grieg
  • Hungarian Rhapsody by Popper

Belgium

Alexandra Cooreman will be representing Belgium, and she is also 15 years old. She is from both Belgian and Polish descent, and began playing the violin from the age of 5. In 2012, she performed with the Orchestre de Chambre de Waterloo, and a year later she performed in an international competition called Bravo! Alexandra has had plenty of experience in competitions and concerts which will ultimately help her at Eurovision Young Musicians!

Alexandra will be performing in the first show of the second semi-final. She will be performing:

  • Presto from Sonata for Piano and Violin OP 23 by Beethoven
  • Valse-Scherzo by Tchaikovsky

Croatia

Croatia will be represented by Jan Tominić who will be playing the saxophone in the competition. Jan is only 14 years old, but has had extensive experience at various competitions and festivals. Currently, he is a freshman at the secondary Ferdo Livadić Music School, however in previous years he has come first in the 52nd Croatian Competition of Students of Music and Dance. He has also won various other prices, including the Davorin Jenko International Competition in Belgrade, Serbia.

Jan will be performing in the third show of the second semi-final. He will be performing:

  • Fantaisie sur un theme original by Dermersseman
  • Cinq danses exotiques by Françaix
  • Aira by Bozza
  • Bradileira from Scaramouche by Mihaud

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic will be represented by Indi Stivín who plays the double bass. Indi is 16 years old, and from an early age played the piano and violin however at the age of 9 decided to pursue the double bass. He has attended various masterclasses with international musicians and taken part in the International Double Bass competition where he came first. At the age of 15, Indi became a soloist of the Janacek Philharmonic Ostrava, the Moravian Philharmonic Olomouc and the South Czech Philharmonic. This year he made his solo debut performance at the Prague Spring International Music Festival.

Indi will be performing in the second show of the second semi-final. His repertoire has not become available as of yet.

Estonia

18 year old Tanel-Eiko Novikov will represent Estonia with his instrument of choice the percussion. He is the only percussionist in this year’s competition, but generally Tanel-Eiko knows he wants to stand out by bringing a fresh perspective to the percussion and music world. He has performed at several festivals, such as the Baltic brass instruments festival and Percussion Plus. In 2016, he came first in ENKOR and the Great Composers competition in the US, and he also won the Saint Petersburg Open Youth Percussion Competition.

Tanel-Eiko will participate in the first show of the second semi-final. He will be performing:

  • Niflheim by Marján Csaba Zoltán
  • Kuusi Op 75/5 by Sibelius
  • Verano Porteño by Piazzolla

Germany

Mira Foron will be representing Germany and her instrument is the violin. Mira is 16 years old, and comes from a musical family. Both her parents are professional musicians, her brother Nicolò Umberto Foron is a conductor and pianist. She began playing the violin at the age of five, and only two years later she was performing internationally. Like many of her fellow competitors, Mira has won various awards at national and international competitions.

Mira will perform in the second show of the second semi-final. She will be performing:

  • Cadenza by Ravel
  • Tzigane by Penderecki

Greece

Thanos Tzanetakis will be representing Greece playing the guitar. Thanos is 17 years old, and from the age of five began playing the classical guitar. For the last six years, he has been studying in the guitar class of Professor Fotis Koutsothodoros who is one of the most notable Greek guitarist. He also plays the electric guitar, but has won various awards with his talent in classical guitar!

Thanos will perform in the third show of the first semi-final. He will be performing:

  • Fantasia in d minor by Kellner
  • Bagatelle No 3 & 5 from Five Bagatelles for Guitar by Walton
  • Variaciones Sobra un Tema de Fernando Sor by Llobet

Hungary

Hungary will be represented by Máté Bencze who will be playing the Saxophone. The 18 year old first fell in love with classical music as a child and has since been pursuing a career as a professional musician. His hard work has paid off, as he has won first place at the National Saxophone Contest in 2010, 2014 and 2016 among other awards. He is currently studying at the Zoltán Kodály Conservatory in Hungary.

Máté will perform in the third show of the first semi-final. He will be performing:

  • Fantasy on an original theme by Demersseman
  • Allegro from Sonata in g minor BVWV 1020 by JS Bach
  • Pequeña Czarda by Iturralde

Israel

Tamir Naaman-Pery will be representing Israel at this year’s competition with his instrument the cello. 18 year Tarmir has been playing cello since the age of nine, and since 2013 he has been participating in various projects on behalf of the Jerusalem Music Centre Mishkenot Sha’ananim. In 2016, he performed with the Karmiel Conservatory Orchestra in Mets, France, and the following year he participated in the 8th International Youth Music Festival in Bratislava, Slovakia. This year he will be participating in the International Classical Music Festival Clasiclas in Spain.

Tamir will perform in the third show of the first semi-final. He will be performing:

  • Hungarian Rhapsody Op 68 by Popper
  • Preludio-Fantasia from Suite for Cello by Cassadó

Malta

Bernice Sammut Attard will be representing Malta at this year’s Eurovision Young Musicians. Bernice’s instrument of choice is the piano which she began playing at an early age. After finishing her secondary education, she became the first Maltese to be awarded a spot at one of the UK’s leading music schools, Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester where she is studying both piano and violin. She has participated in festivals and competitions locally and abroad, such as the Malta International Piano Festival and Three Palaces Festival.

Bernice will perform in the first show of the first semi-final. She will be performing:

  • Toccata from Trois Pièces by Poulenc
  • Prelude in C minor, Op. 23 No. 7; Prelude in G sharp minor Op. 32 No.12 by Rachmaninov
  • Scherzo No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 31 by Chopin

Norway

Representing Norway is 16 year old Birgitta Elise Oftestad who will be playing the cello at the contest. She has been playing cello since the age of five, and is a student at the Barratt Due Institute of Music. Birgitta has won various awards both as a soloist and as a chamber musician, inclusive of the Norwegian Soloist Prize this year. She has played at events such as the Oslo Chamber Music Festival as well as festivals in Lithuania and the United States.

Birgitta will perform in the third show of the second semi-final. She will be performing:

  • 1st mvt from Cello Concerto No 1 by Shostakovich
  • Adagio and Allegro by Schumann

Poland

This year Poland is represented by Marta Chlebicka who will be playing the flute. She has been playing the flute since the age of 7, and more recently has been a student at Zenon Brzewksi Music high school in the nation’s capital, Warsaw. She has improved her skills through a number of master courses by various international talents, and she is a scholar of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage ‘Młoda Polska’. In addition to the flute, she can also play the piccolo flute, bass flute and alto flute!

Marta will perform in the second show of the first semi-final. She will be performing:

  • Hamburger Sonata in G by CPE Bach
  • Rigoletto Fantasie by Popp

Russia

Representing Russia is Ivan Bessonov who will be playing the piano. The 16 year old first started playing the piano at the age of six, and currently studies at the Central Music School at the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory. He has performed in various recitals and festivals both in Russia and abroad inclusive of presenting a solo program in St. Petersburg. Ivan is also a composer and has worked on the film score for the documentary film Varicella.

Ivan will perform in the second show of the second semi-final. He will be performing:

  • Mazurka in B flat minor, Op 24 No 4 by Chopin
  • Fantasie-Impromptu in C sharp minor, Op 66 by Chopin
  • Prelude in G minor, Op 23 No 5 by Rachmaniov
  • Barncleupédie by James MacMillan
  • Suggestion Diabolique (Satanic Apparition), Op 4 by Sergei Prokfiev

San Marino

Francesco Stefanelli will be representing San Marino at this year’s contest, and he will be playing the cello. Francesco is 18 years old, and began playing the cello at the age of 7. In 2015, he graduated with honours at the Institute of Higher Education Lettimi in Rimini. He has come first in national and international competitions, including the 11th Cello Competition Antonio Janigro in Croatia and has won first prize at the EuroAsia International Music Competition among others. He won the scholarship for the best Italian young cellist under 20 which is one of many scholarships he has received.

Francesco will perform in the second show of the first semi-final. He will be performing:

  • Violoncello Totale by Penderecki
  • Allegro vivace from Cello Sonata No 2 by Brahms
  • Moto Perpetuo from Sonata for cello and piano by Britten

Slovenia

Representing Slovenia is 18 year old Nikola Pajanović who was born in the nation’s capital, Ljubljana. He will be playing the violin at the contest, an instrument he has been playing since the age of 6. He is currently a student at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana as well as the Conservatory of Music and Ballet also in Ljubljana. He has won awards and performed at many festivals, but he was also featured on the TV show Pearls of Music of the Future which aired on national television back in 2012. He has performed as a soloist alongside many Orchestras including the Chamber Orchestra of the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra and the Symphonic Orchestra RTV Slovenia.

Nikola will perform in the second show of the first semi-final. He will be performing:

  • Caprice no 7 by Paganini
  • Tambourin Chinois by Kreisler
  • Sonata for Violin solo No 3 by Ysaye

Spain

Representing Spain at this year’s contest is Sara Valencia, an 18 year old violinist from Madrid. Sara began playing the violin at the early age of 4 and has since achieved many goals. She has achieved an End of Professional Degree Award from the Conservatory Adolfo Salazar and has played at a number of concerts both in Spain and beyond. In 2016, she began her higher music degree at the Reina Sofía Superior School in Music under the guidance of Profession Marco Rizzi. She is also in the Bartok Duo with pianist Anastasia Vorotnaya.

Sara will perform in the first show of the first semi-final. She will be performing:

  • Caprice Basque by Sarasate
  • Caprice No. 13 in B flat by Paganini
  • 3rd mvt (Finale) of Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor by Bruch

Sweden

Johanna Ander Ljung will be performing the harp on behalf of Sweden at this year’s contest. The 19 year old musician has studied the harp since she was 7, and has been educated in some of Sweden’s most prestigious choral schools. She has performed in various Nordic orchestras and ensembles across Sweden as well as abroad, for example at the World Harp Congress in Hong Kong. She has won various awards including the Polstjärne Prize which gave her the opportunity to represent Sweden at this year’s Eurovision Young Musicians.

Johanna will perform in the third show of the second semi-final. She will be performing:

  • Improvisations for Harop, Op 10 by Mathias
  • Allemande from Suite No 5 in F by Loeillet
  • Féerie – Prelude et Dance by Tournier

United Kingdom

Representing the United Kingdom is Maxim Calver, an 18 year old cellist. He made his concerto debut in Symphony Hall, Birmingham as part of the Grand Final of BBC Young Musician 2018. Maxim has performed at major venues across Europe and the UK with notable performances including Gstaad Menuhin Festival and the Wimbeldon International Festival. This year, he toured the Netherlands as part of the Trio Pantoum. One of the greatest honours for Maxim was performing with the National Children’s Orchestra at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.

Maxim will perform in the first show of the first semi-final. He will be performing:

  • Sacher Variation by Lutoslawski
  • Adagio from Cello Sonata in F, Op. 99 by Brahms
  • Minuetto e Finale from Suita Italienne by Stravinsky

If you are interested, read more about the participants on the official Eurovision Young Musicians website, otherwise check out more general information about the competition in our previous post!

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