The spotlight of the classical music world is now firmly on one major event: the finale of the WorldVision Composers Contest. Widely recognised as "The World Cup of Classical Music," this competition started by selecting top-tier classical composers from 32 countries through an intensive qualification process. After two years of fierce competition, only three have stood out as the world's best. On October 1st, among these three, one will be named the world champion, marking an unforgettable chapter in the annals of contemporary classical music.
Diving into The World Cup of Classical Music
The WorldVision Composers Contest, commonly referred to as “The World Cup of Classical Music," is an international event based in the iconic city of Vienna, Austria, the homeland of classical music luminaries such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn, and Ludwig van Beethoven.
The competition boasts sponsorship from an impressive roster of 60 prominent brands and organisations, including Porsche, Steinway & Sons, Casio, and Bechstein. Additionally, it garners support from esteemed cultural institutions like PBS and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
Organised by Classic@Home, a group renowned for orchestrating top-tier musical events, this competition has become synonymous with excellence. They were the driving force behind the acclaimed WorldVision Music Contest, which spent an entire year tirelessly searching the globe for the crème de la crème of classical performers. Ranging from up-and-coming violinists to seasoned pianists and masterful cellists, the competition reached its zenith with a grand gala at Vienna's iconic Konzerthaus. Among the notable participants of that competition was Pilar Policano, the young Argentine violinist who has gained prominence as the "Messi of the Violin."
The WorldVision Composers Contest represents a significant shift in focus. Instead of highlighting exceptional performers, the primary objective of this contest is to discover and honour the leading classical music composers of our generation.
The competition commenced with the meticulous selection of an elite assembly of 88 of the globe's preeminent composers, originating from 32 distinct countries, all evaluated through a rigorous qualification procedure. The contest was structured across three exacting levels: regional, national, and international. Within each phase, composers were mandated to compose sophisticated symphonic works, necessitating impeccable orchestration for the synchronization of close to 100 musicians on stage.
In an era where the disciplines of orchestration, composition, and music theory have evolved into highly rigorous specialized fields, each necessitating years of university education in distinct academic programs and an expert level of mastery, the World Cup of Classical Music presents an exceptional challenge. Participants are urged to display a remarkable blend of talents, a range of skills seldom found in a single individual.
Contestants were called upon to fulfill multiple roles, encompassing that of composers, orchestrators, and music theorists; and faced with the daunting task of crafting not just one, but three monumental symphonic masterpieces. In essence, the competition required its participants to emulate the feats of historical figures such as Mozart or Beethoven, thereby setting a standard of excellence rarely seen in the musical realm.
For this reason, the World Cup of Classical Music surpasses the mere notion of a competition, evolving into a platform dedicated to uncovering and spotlighting the true multidisciplinary prodigies defining the classical music of our time. Amidst these near-mythical challenges and requirements, three composers managed to reach the world's final by presenting three highly intricate symphonic masterpieces.
The Three Global Finalists
The World Cup of Classical Music has announced its finalists from three countries: Argentina, Mexico, and the Philippines. Argentina's finalist, Rod Schejtman, will present "Luce Nell'Oscurità" (“Light in Times of Darkness”). From Mexico, Claudio H. Martinez Garcia will showcase "Nuestro andar / Our Pace", while Horst-Hans Baecker of the Philippines enters with "Fantasía for Orchestra". Each of these pieces is a comprehensive symphonic work intended for performance by an ensemble of approximately 100 musicians. A panel of international classical music experts will evaluate these compositions to rank the current top three global winners.
Rod Schejtman, the Symphonic Composer Representing Argentina
Rod Schejtman excels in a variety of disciplines: classical symphonic music, orchestration, film score composition, music theory, education, and notably, he's also an engineer. One of his pieces, "La Magia di Vivere," is a symphonic work calling for 85 musicians onstage and was introduced in the competition's early stages. "Un Raggio di Sole" is a string quintet echoing the classical style of the 19th century. Yet, his crowning achievement is "Luce Nell'Oscurità," a grand symphonic masterwork that necessitates meticulous coordination of 80 musicians. This entails a sizable string section with 59 performers, accompanied by a diverse assortment of wind, brass, percussion, and harp instruments.
Upon reaching the finals of the global competition, Schejtman was celebrated on Radio Nacional Argentina, a revered authority in classical music that broadcasts across 57 provinces, even reaching as far as Antarctica. This esteemed station, which has hosted some of the world's most prestigious classical musicians, broadcasted the debut of his 15-minute magnum opus "Luce Nell'Oscurità." This was aired live across the entirety of Argentina, uninterrupted, as part of the distinguished radio show "Medianoche Digital," anchored by Boris Laures.
The Prestige: Awards and Global Recognition
The remuneration for excellence is delineated as follows: €10,000 for the global victor, €5,000 for the first runner-up, and €3,000 for the second runner-up. However, the accolades extend beyond mere financial compensation. The three winners will be privileged with a professional recording of their masterworks, masterfully performed and captured live by a symphonic assembly of one hundred eminent musicians.
Under the consummate baton of the illustrious Maestro Mikhail Golikov, the trio of finalists will experience the profound sensation of their compositions being vivified through the prowess of the acclaimed Digital Orchestra symphony.
Moreover, the world champion—the individual achieving the esteemed first-place position—will be rewarded with the significant honor of presenting their masterwork at the legendary Wiener Konzerthaus in Vienna, Austria, in a collaborative performance with the renowned Nova Orchester Wien (NOW) symphony ensemble.
Key Dates and Timeline
Following a delay due to geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine, the organising committee of the World Cup of Classical Music (WorldVision Composers Contest) has released a pivotal update: this coming Sunday, October 1, the final podium order will be unveiled, determining the world champion, the runner-up, and the third-place holder. Additionally, on the same date, the schedule for the eagerly anticipated recording sessions is expected to be announced, as well as details for the grand event set to take place at the legendary Wiener Konzerthaus in Vienna in 2024.