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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Contest Brings on The Best

Russian musicians bested an international field and took top honors in the piano, violin and cello at the prestigious Tchaikovsky music competition.

The judges gave Denis Matsuyev the prize for the piano, Nikolai Sachenko was the top violinist, and Denis Shapovalov was selected in the cello competition late Monday night. All of the winners were from the Moscow Conservatory.

"It's not at all surprising that Russian participants won first prizes in a competition which ... is based on the works of Tchaikovsky," competition spokesman Andrei Ustinov said Tuesday.

Participants are not limited to Peter Tchaikovsky's works, but each performer must include at least one piece of music by the 19th-century Russian composer for each of the competition's three rounds.

Previous winners included musicians from around the world. One of the most notable was a young American, Van Cliburn, who won the piano prize in the first competition in 1958 and instantly became one of the world's best know pianists.

But on the whole, Russian musicians seem to give "more authenticity" to their performances of works by Russian composers, Ustinov said.

But Daniel Pollack, a piano juror and runner-up in the first Tchaikovsky competition in 1958, said he thought Britain's Frederick Kampf, who took third prize, was the "most talented" pianist.

"He should have been, in my opinion, the first prize," Pollack said.

Matsuyev, the winner in piano, played Tchaikovsky's Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor and Liszt's Concerto No. 1 in E-Flat in the finals. Both Kampf and second-prize runner-up, Russia's Vadim Rudenko, played the Tchaikovsky Concerto and Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 3 in D-Minor.

The Tchaikovsky competition has been held every four years since 1958.

The winners received $10,000, runners-up take home $8,000 and third-place finishers get $6,000.