PRESS RELEASE published on 23 Aug 2018

Russia's Ivan Bessonov wins Eurovision Young Musicians 2018

16-year-old pianist Ivan Bessonov, from Russia, has been named the winner of Eurovision Young Musicians 2018. The final of this renowned competition took place on Thursday 23 August at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The 19th edition of the biennial competition for classical musicians aged between 12 and 21 is broadcast by EBU Members in 18 participating countries, 12 of them live.

In a format change for this edition, 18 musicians performed in a semi-final elimination round on 18 and 19 August, produced by BBC Radio 3, and made available for EBU Members’ radio and online platforms via the Euroradio network.

6 candidates were then selected by an expert jury to perform in the Grand Final.

The 6 Finalists performed a piece no longer than 12 minutes live in front of an audience of around 2,000 people in Edinburgh's iconic Usher Hall, accompanied by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under its principle conductor, Thomas Dausgaard.

They were then judged by a panel of 5 world-renowned musicians: cellist and conductor David Watkin, American conductor and violinist Marin Alsop, composer and performer Anna Meredith, Scottish classical composer and conductor James MacMillan (chair) and Head of Music for the Edinburgh International Festival, Andrew Moore.

Ivan performed Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No 1, 3rd movement.

He was born in 2002 and began to study the piano at the age of six. Currently he studies at the Central Music School at the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory.

Ivan performs recitals and concertos in Russia and abroad and has participated in various music festivals. He has worked with the State Symphony Orchestra of the Republic of Tatarstan and the Symphony Orchestra of the State Academic Capella of St. Petersburg.

He first became noticed in Russia when he won young talent contest Sinyaya Ptitsa (Blue Bird) and has also composed a film score.

Ivan received a custom-made engraved trophy, EUR 7,000 and chance to perform with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in a forthcoming season.

The runner-up, violinist Nikola Pajanović, from Slovenia received a EUR 3,000 prize.

Eurovision Young Musicians 2018 was produced by the European Broadcasting Union in partnership with the prestigious Edinburgh International Festival and hosted by BBC Radio 3, BBC Scotland and BBC Arts Digital.

EBU Director of Media Jean Philip De Tender congratulated the winner and praised the production: "This edition of Eurovision Young Musicians shows, once again, that public service media is bringing the richness of Europe's next generation of classical music soloists to audiences across the world.

"The BBC did a tremendous job with the new format," he added. "All the performers excelled, especially Ivan and we wish him well in his future career."     

Alan Davey, Controller of joint host broadcaster BBC Radio 3, said: "The future of classical music is in safe hands if tonight's sparkling performances are anything to go by - congratulations to Ivan and all the finalists and my thanks to the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra for supporting these artists on stage tonight!

"We regularly collaborate with the EBU and Edinburgh International Festival to bring the very best classical concerts and brightest performers to audiences at home across the UK and Europe, and so we were delighted to take that one step further by collaborating with BBC Scotland and BBC Arts Digital to broadcast Eurovision Young Musicians, allowing millions of people to experience this amazing new talent first hand," he added.

Previous winners of the Eurovision Young Musicians competition have gone on to enjoy huge success on the world-stage, and include Julian Rachlin (violin), Natalie Clein (cello) and Eivind Holtsmark Ringstad (viola).


Birgitta Oftestad – Norway – cello – Elgar Cello Concerto 4th Movement

Nikola Pajanovic – Slovenia – violin – Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto 3rd Movement

Indi Stivin – Czech Republic – double bass – Bohemian Suite for Double Bass (own composition)

Mira Marie Foron – Germany – violin – Sibelius Violin Concerto 3rd Movement

Mate Bencze – Hungary – saxophone – Ibert Concerto da Camera for Saxophone

Ivan Bessonov – Russia – piano – Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto 3rd Movement

The full list and profiles of participants for the Eurovision Young Musicians 2018, along with high resolution photos, can be found on the official website,

Relevant Links

Official Eurovision Young Musicians Website
Official Eurovision Young Musicians YouTube Channel

Contact detail

Dave Goodman
Communications Lead - Eurovision Song Contest and Live Events

+41 79 634 9097