13-year-old Egyptian-Hungarian violinist Mariam Abouzahra wins ‘Silver Nutcracker’ in Moscow

Maria K., Tuesday 7 Dec 2021

The 13-year-old Egyptian-Hungarian violinist Mariam Abouzahra won the silver award at the Nutcracker International Television Contest for Young Musicians in Moscow, Russia, on 6 December.

Mariam Abuzahra
Egyptian-Hungarian violinist Mariam Abuzahra

Abouzahra, representing Germany and Austria, participated in the third and final round of the Nutcracker, a renowned contest organised by the state cultural TV channel ‘Russia-K’, whose most recent edition took place in Moscow at the Tchaikovsky Hall.

Accompanying the young finalists was the Moscow Philarmonic orchestra under the baton of Michael Shekhtman.

In the string instruments category, Abouzahra competed with two other young finalists: Franz Ludwig Serafin Kraggerud (8) from Norway and violinist Sofia Demetriades (14), representing Great Britain and Russia.

Abouzahra played Carmen Fantasie for solo violin by the Hungarian composer Jenő Hubay, based on the opera Carmen by Georges Bizet. Her performance was described as "emotionally rich and technically flawless" during the competition.

It is worth adding that in the first round of the competition, which aired on 29 November, Abouzahra presented Ayesha’s Dance and Sabre Dance from the ballet Gayane by Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978). For the second round, she chose a challenging piece, Valse-Scherzo by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1877–1893).

In the finals, the jury awarded Sofia Demetriades the golden prize for her performance of the third movement from Violin Concerto No. 3 by Camille Saint-Saëns.

Born to a Hungarian mother, Nóra Emödy, and an Egyptian father, Ahmed Abouzahra, both pianists, the young musician is also the granddaughter of famous Egyptian actor Abdelrahman Abouzahra.

Mariam Abouzahra started playing violin at the age of three, following the example of her elder sister Amira. Both sisters have been performing extensively and winning in international contests, such as the German youth national competition, the Virtuózok Talent show in Hungary and many others.

Just recently in 2020, the sisters received the highest awards at one of the most prestigious competitions for young violinists, the International Arthur Grumiaux Competition in Belgium.

The Abouzahra sisters are also among the few young talents who are offered support by the Young Virtuosos Foundation. Mariam Abouzahra is currently studying in the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna under the guidance of violin professor Dora Schwarzberg.

The Nutcracker International Television Contest for Young Musicians has been discovering and promoting young talent in Russia and worldwide since 2000. This year, 16 participants were initially selected by the contest committee through video to compete in performing on the piano, string, wind and percussion instruments.

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