Brooklyn Faculty Conservatory of Music graduates thrive in worldwide on-line competitions

June 24, 2021

Martyna Kucinskaite said it was a struggle to keep her spirits up after performing live became impossible. But she persevered and eventually flourished in online competitions.

Martyna Kucinskaite, who graduated from Brooklyn College with a master’s degree in piano playing in 2021, received a lot of support from piano professor Gabrielius Alekna when she was successful in international online piano competitions.

Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music graduate Martyna Kucinskaite has recently won several top prizes in international competitions.

Kucinskaite, who majored in piano and received her masters degree last May, said it was a struggle to keep her spirits up after performing live became impossible. But she persevered and eventually flourished in online competitions.

“Since we can’t have face-to-face lessons, we’ve gotten used to recording each other a lot more than before,” said Kucinskaite. “While relying on recordings was certainly a very different experience than anyone expecting a performing arts degree, it has rewarded us with plenty of insight by monitoring our own performance. It also offered our professors a different, and often more objective and detailed, insight into our game. “

Kucinskaite stated that at the beginning of the pandemic, most competitions were canceled or postponed indefinitely, but some eventually moved to online formats. After these competitions proved to be a good substitute for keeping the performers engaged in their craft while staying safe, it became a great pleasure for them to participate.

Kucinskaite has participated in several international competitions including Astana Stars, a competition in Nūr-Sūltan, Kazakhstan, in which she competed twice. The first in December 2020 was dedicated to the 180th birthday of the Russian composer Pytor Ilyich T’chaikovsky. Kucinskaite presented a recording of John Corigliano’s piece “Winging It” (1st and 3rd movements) and won first place for the second time. In May 2021, she submitted it to Maurice Ravel’s “Alborada del Gracioso” (from Miroirs) and took it again the first place.

Another competition, Virtuosos, was launched in 2016 and takes place in Saratov, Russia. It is organized by a private local music school and initially only accepted submissions from residents of Saratov. Last year, however, the competition opened its doors to participants from all over Russia and has developed into an international event since October 2020. Pianists as well as instrumentalists, singers, various chamber ensembles, jazz musicians and composers are eligible to participate. Kucinskaite participated twice, winning the third and then the first prize, and played Corigliano and Ravel compositions again in February and May 2021.

“I am grateful that my piano professor Gabrielius Alekna has always motivated and supported me. I was also fortunate to have great pieces in my program that were approved for these competitions and enabled me to experience the thrill of participation again, ”said Kucinskaite.

You can watch Kucinskaite’s performance from an online piano recital in May 2021 here.

This press release was produced by the City University of New York: Brooklyn College. The views expressed are one’s own.

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