Russian Renaissance has won the $100,000 M-Prize, which was announced Thursday at the the second annual M-Prize chamber music competition hosted by the University of Michigan's School of Music, Theatre & Dance.
The Moscow-based group plays traditional Russian instruments and performs "high calibre traditional folk music through a modern lens." For example, Monti's "Czardas":
The group includes members Ivan Kuznetsov, balalaika; Anastasia Zakharova, domra; Aleksandr Tarasov, button-accordion; and Ivan Vinogradov, balalaika-contrabasso. Since their debut in October 2015, the quartet has won a number of competitions and have performed in Tchaikovsky Concert Hall and Gnesins’ Academy Concert Hall in Moscow; Yota Space concert hub in St. Petersburg; and the Youth Theatre in Rostov-on-Don.
The top winner in the M-Prize Senior Strings category was the Argus Quartet of New Haven, Conn, which earlier this week was named graduate resident string quartet at The Juilliard School. The Astera String Quartet of Chicago won top prize in the Junior Strings category.
Jury members included former New York Philharmonic concertmaster Rodney Friend, Juilliard String Quartet cellist Astrid Schween, Swiss saxophonist Lars Mlekusch, flautist Carol Wincenc, multigenre cellist Jeffrey Zeigler and Grammy Award-winning soprano Dawn Upshaw.
The M-Prize competition was created in 2016 by Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance Dean Aaron Dworkin to identify and showcase chamber music talent. This year's competition drew applications representing 41 countries and 60 performing arts institutions. Twenty-nine ensembles, comprising 112 artists from 7 countries, participated in the semifinal and final rounds May 2-3 at the University of Michigan. Last year's grand prize was awarded to The Calidore String Quartet.
Here is a list of all 2017 M-Prize Finals winners:
Senior Grand Prize
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