LSM Newswire

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Torontonian Anastasia Rizikov, 12, Wins Piano Compettition in Palma de Mallorca



Twelve-year-old Anastasia Rizikov of Toronto has topped pianists more than twice her age, to win first prize in the 18th XVIII Concurso International de Piano Rotary (18th Rotary International Piano Competition) in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

The Scarborough resident was the youngest person ever to enter Category A of the competition, open to professional pianists, teachers, and students of high education, age 28 and under. Competitors who made it through the three rounds were required to play a total of one and a half hours of diverse repertoire over the three rounds, from memory, with no repetition. Category B was open to players up to age 16, and required only 20 minutes of music.

The competition took place in mid-May, attracting about 40 competitors in the two categories – 26 of them in Category A. At the conclusion, May 13, Anastasia received €2,600 (approx. $3,600 Canadian). She will return to Spain (dates TBA) for a solo recital tour and a performance with the Baleares Symphony Orchestra.

Anastasia – already a first-prize winner of numerous competitions – chose to enter the more challenging category because she had both the repertoire and the confidence. She went with her grandmother, Maia Spis, a Master of Music Education graduate who is also her teacher at the Nadia Music Academy in Toronto.

Second prize in Category A went to Spanish pianist Ambrosio Varela Garcia, 26, and third to Anna Prystromska, 22, of Ukraine.

Anastasia comments, “My grandmother and I really didn't come to this competition to win. We were going to compete with mature adult pianists with tons of experience and knowledge. I had just as much chance to win as everybody else. On the first day, we saw 20 contestants leave the competition and only six of us stayed for round II. For Round III, another three contestants had left – so I was sure that third place would be mine. I didn't expect to be first! These three days were exhausting – but ultimately worth it!”

Judges and observers commented on Anastasia’s natural playing, saying she played with heart.

In honor of the Competition, Anastasia wore a specially designed ruffled, red flamenco dress with black vest.


Winning the Rotary Competition is only the latest feather in her cap for Anastasia Rizikov. At age seven, representing Canada, she won the Vladimir Horowitz International Young Pianists Competition in Kiev, Ukraine. She also received a special award for Best Artistic Performance and made her orchestral debut, performing Polunin's Concertino in A minor with theNational Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, conducted by Mykola Diadiura.

Besides first-place wins at the Canadian Music Competition and the Canadian Chopin Competition, in 2010 alone she won first place in the Thousand Islands International Piano Competition for Young People (Cape Vincent, USA), and in the American Protégé 2010 International Piano and Strings Competition, performing in New York’s Carnegie Hall. She had previously performed at Carnegie Hall after winning first place in the 2009 Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition. In 2008, she represented Canada at the Kremlin at the international festival Moscow Meets Friends, organized by the Vladimir Spivakov International Charity Foundation, and was awarded the Festival’s medal and diploma. She has also been included in a feature on prodigies on the Oprah show.

Upcoming performances include two recitals in August in Cape Vincent, as winner of the 2010 competition; a recital and a performance of Schubert’s “Trout' Quintet” with the Novo4Tet in New York City in September; and three Detroit recitals in October.

Among her recent concerto performances in Canada and the U.S. were Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Plymouth Symphony Orchestra conducted by Nan Washburn, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Toronto Sinfonietta conducted by Matthew Jaskiewicz, and Kabalevsky’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with the International Symphony Orchestra conducted by Robert Debbaut.

A bio, videos, photos and more information about Anastasia Rizikov are available at



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