The International Television Contest for Young Musicians The Nutcracker has been held annually since its establishment by Russian Kultura TV channel in 2000. The contest was conceived as a starting point for young musicians. Famous conductors, composers, and teachers train the participants during the contest, while the winners of the contest appear in concerts throughout Russia and Europe, as well as take part in prestigious music festivals. The participants of the gala concert at the Mariinsky Theatre include the contest’s prize-winners of recent years – Timofei Yakhnov, Sofie Leifer, and Maxim Lando. They have already established themselves as successful touring musicians.
Oboist Timofei Yakhnov won a Golden Nutcracker in 2015. He is a student of the St Petersburg Rimsky-Korsakov School of Music. Timofei is a prize-winner and finalist of more than thirty international and all-Russian competitions and winner of the Concertino Praga Competition. The musician has toured in Armenia, Belarus, Greece, Spain, France, and the Czech Republic. In addition to oboe, Timofei plays English horn and oboe d'amore.
Sofie Leifer began her violin studies at the age of four and won her first violin competition at the age of five. She previously studied at the Conservatorium Maastricht (the Netherlands) and currently studies under Zakhar Bron at his academy in Interlaken (Switzerland). Sofie won a Golden Nutcracker in 2016. Moreover, she was a prize-winner at various international competitions, including the Lipinski and Wieniawski International Competition for Young Violinists in Lublin (Poland). After winning the competition, Sofie was invited by Vladimir Spivakov to perform with the Moscow Virtuosi at the Moscow Greets Its Friends festival. She went on to perform with the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Vladimir Fedoseyev. At the Mariinsky Theatre, Sofie Leifer will perform one of the most piercing Romantic era violin concertos – Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1.
Maxim Lando (piano), who won a Golden Nutcracker in 2015, has already given concerts all over the world. He replaced Lang Lang for a performance with violinist Alisa Margulis at the Music Fest Perugia with no prior rehearsals. Maxim is a student of Juilliard Pre-College at the Juilliard School. His competition prizes include the 2nd prize at the Kissinger Klavierolymp and the gold medal of the International Music Competition in Berlin. His engagements in the 2018/2019 season include a concert with Lang Lang and debut performances with China’s National Centre for the Performing Arts Orchestra and symphony orchestras of Pittsburg, Toronto, and Vancouver. Lando’s programme includes Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, which he performs with youthful charm and unchildlike virtuosity.