Nigel places 4th at Tchaikovsky
Sonoma violinist Nigel Armstrong seems to be the perpetual bridesmaid of international music competitions - while he always reaches the final round, the grand prize remains elusive.
As was the case with the 14th International Tchaikovsky Competition in Russia, where Armstrong was one of five violinists in the world to perform in the final round. On Thursday, he learned he placed fourth in the violins section of the competition as he sat in the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow, his mother Kristen and brother Peter by his side.
But, technically, no one won the violin portion of the competition. The judges, an international selection of top classical musicians, did not name a grand prize winner, which occurs when the judges fail to come to a consensus. Instead, Sergey Dogadin of Russia and Itamar Zorman of Israel shared the second place title.
Nigel will not walk away empty handed. The fourth place win comes with a prize of $5,000 euros ($7,262 US). In addition, he was awarded the Best Performance of the Commissioned Work prize of $2,000 euros ($2,904 US) for his performance of the "Stomp" by John Corigliano, where he played his violin behind his back in the true style of fiddlers during round two of the three-phase competition.
There are, of course, the bragging rights that come with being a finalist of the world's most prestigious classical music contest, which includes violin, piano, cello and voice categories. Held every four years in St. Petersburg and Moscow, the event is the World Cup of classical music contests, drawing hundreds of applications from across the globe. The competition is aimed at budding new talent as it's only open to musicians ages 16 to 30. As Nigel is 21, he will have two more chances to enter the competition.
Nigel is no stranger to international music competitions. In 2010, he traveled to Oslo, Norway amidst a storm of volcanic ash to compete in the Menuhin Competition's Senior Division, where he took home a silver medal. Later that year, he got a matching silver medal at the first International Violin Competition of Buenos Aires.
After wrapping up his studies at the Colburn School Conservatory of Music in May, he will head to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia this fall to obtain his masters degree.