At the age of seventeen, Irina Chistyakova looks back at an international concert career spanning ten years. Irina is the youngest of the four protagonists of the film Russia's Wonder Children made in 2000. By now seventeen years old, she is going through a drama that many prodigies experience: while they were children, they were able to stun audiences with the contrast of their delicate appearances and precocious talents.
Now, only perfectly accomplished performances matter. In consequence they have become competitors in the merciless music industry. They all want to get right to the top – but it is tough scaling the dizzy heights to the top of the piano-players' olympus. And there's only space for a handful of piano virtuosos up there.
Like Irina, Nikita Mndoyants (18), Dmitry Krutogolovy (19), and Elena Kolesnichenko (25), are still showered with praise and distinction. But what price did they have to pay for it? Did a barely experienced childhood leave its marks on their psyche? Irina has already had her share of backache, tendinitis and neuritis. Is the constant physical exertion by endless daily practise sessions really justifiable? If they want to become concert pianists, it is inevitable. The pain – both physical and psychological – is a daily companion and must be overcome somehow. And it is incredibly difficult to add something new, refreshing, something of one's own to the international reservoir of piano ideas.
The film Competitors tells a universal tale of success and failure in the world of classical music. Approaching the four protagonists very closely and combined with moving flashbacks from the film Russia's Wonder Children, it will become a poetical study with a deeply human touch of four young people growing up under the severe pressure of a just about inhumane competitive strife.
The Improbable Journey of Nobuyuki Tsujii
Symphony Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theater – The complete Prokofiev symphonies. Moscow Easter Festival
The 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, 2009