Petersburg hosts a large number of prestigious creative competitions. Our city, its history, unique architecture, cultural traditions are directed towards a beautiful, sublime future. One of the leitmotifs of this St. Petersburg symphony was a competition for young pianists, which gave a ticket to the world of art to such well-known musicians as Miroslav Kultyshev, Alexander Lubyantsev, Andrey Korobeinikov, Lukas Genyushas, Alexander Mutuzkin and Sergey Redkin.
The founders of the competition in 1995 were the Committee for Culture of St. Petersburg, the Administration of the Frunzensky District of St. Petersburg and the St. Petersburg Children’s Art School No. 4.
For many years, the «Step Towards Mastery» competition has not only successfully identified talented performers and provided them with the opportunity to perform in the best concert halls in Russia and Europe but has become a new “step” in organizing creative competition.
The origins of the competition were teachers and graduates of the school. Alexei Sokolov (currently a professor at the Tianjin Conservatory, China) provided great assistance in holding the first competitions. An invaluable contribution to the organization of the work of the jury was made by the permanent chairman of the jury – Artist of Russia, Professor of the St. Petersburg Conservatory Ekaterina Murina.
The jury in different years included representatives of Italy, Argentina, Austria, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, China, France, Serbia, South Korea and Australia.
The high level of performance of the participants, objectivity and impartiality in evaluating their performances by the jury, the clear organization of events, the friendly attitude and warm welcome of the participants and guests of the competition were noted by the observers of the European Union of Music Competitions for Youth (EMCY). On their recommendation, in 2000 the Step to Mastery competition (the first Russian competition) was accepted into EMCY.
If 43 representatives from five European countries took part in the first competition, then after the tenth one, the number of participants exceeded 1000 young musicians from 30 countries of the world. What attracts young pianists to participate in it, many of whom are already laureates of national and international competitions? First of all, his high rating and, of course, his cherished desire to perform in the final round with an academic symphony orchestra in the Great Hall of the St. Petersburg Philarmony. Online broadcast of all auditions on the Internet provides an excellent opportunity for the musical community to compare and evaluate the achievements of various pianistic schools in the world.
At the EMCY General Assemblies, the Step to Mastery competition has been repeatedly recognized as the most successful European piano competition for young people. Participants from 19 countries, incl. Australia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Great Britain, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Canada, China, Korea, Costa Rica, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, Croatia, Switzerland, and Russia.
There is no doubt that the young participants of the 13th competition will demonstrate the highest level of performing skills, enthusiasm and devoted love for their chosen work, thus creating the atmosphere of a great piano festival.