Armenian competition goes online

The 2020 Khachaturian International Competition responds to coronavirus with digital innovation

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In a bold move signalling that the show must go on amid Coronavirus, the annual Khachaturian International Competition, dedicated this year to the violin, is placing its faith in technology by holding its entire 2020 competition online.

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In a press conference on 6 June broadcast from the Armenian capital Yerevan, it was announced that 18 competitors from 13 countries would perform via a new app, both in the opening rounds, and during the concerto final.

Opening rounds will be straightforward enough, with competitors submitting performances via the app from their home countries, and the jury listens and evaluates via a special dashboard created for them.

But it’s the final concerto round that has caused heads to be scratched. Bringing the Yerevan-based Armenian State Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sergey Smbatyan, together with soloists scattered across the world will be a monumental challenge, but it is hoped that innovative use of artificial intelligence will help to synchronise the music.

This is the first time that a competition has announced an entirely online event – should the technology be a success, it’s hoped that it might be shared with other competitions around the world.

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The Khachaturian International Competition runs until 15 June 2020 and can be viewed here. It has been held every year since 2003 and concentrates on four musical disciplines in rotation: cello, piano, violin and conducting.