International Vocal and Piano Competition and Festival in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens

The Russian Cultural Garden in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Garden, Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation, and with the international partners from Russia, United Kingdom, and Greece invites young pianists and vocalists to take part in the second music competition The Stars of Summer in the Cultural Gardens of Cleveland.

The Cultural Gardens, a unique outdoor museum in the beautiful surroundings of gardens, landscapes, and sculptures, represent over 40 countries and cultures. Russian and Italian Cultural Gardens significantly contribute to the Cleveland cultural scene holding their unique and popular annual events such as Russian Maslenitsa and Opera in the Italian Garden.

Representing the rich music heritage of their nations, Russian and Italian Gardens clearly realize the fundamental role of the music teacher in the first steps of young musicians' training. We praise the hard work of music teachers, and our goal is to support them in motivating their students to practice during Summertime as well as in training young musicians to perform publicly.

The Gardens are dedicated to “peace through mutual understanding" and by presenting this event, they hope to promote international harmony.

The competition is open to solo pianists and singers and to the ensembles of all ages and nationalities.

Multiple winners will be chosen in each of the age or genre categories.

The contestants will be judged by an International panel of highly recognized professional judges using a point system, based solely on the submitted videos. Only videos recorded in 2021 will be accepted. Applications will be reviewed and judged separately in each of the age/repertoire categories
  • Piano - solo and ensemble:
I – a piece of the Baroque, Classic, Romantic, Modern repertoire
II – a piece of the modern American composer.

  • Voice - solo and ensemble:
I – classical: no microphone, piano accompaniment
II – classical cross; pop; jazz; musical theater: microphones, recorded accompaniments.

Attention: singers of both categories perform in the Gala and One World Day events WITH microphones, may be accompanied by: orchestra, piano, recorded track.

Performers may apply in one or more categories

Age groups
  • A: 6-8
  • B: 9-11
  • C: 12-14
  • D: 15-17
  • E: 18-21
  • F: 22+

• Participants prepare and videotape one or two pieces of repertoire, appropriate for joyful open-air festival environment. Duration 5'.
• For Gala, could be taken only one piece no longer than 5'. Another piece could be scheduled for One World Day performance in the Gardens.
• All pieces should be performed by memory, excluding piano part of classical vocal.
• Pieces of Russian and Italian composers could be nominated for the Prize of Russian Garden or Italian Garden.
• Pieces of the modern American composers could be nominated for the Composer's special award.

Requirements for Classical Vocal repertoire are synchronized with the requirements of Elena Obraztsova Young Vocalists competition:
• a folk song a capella or with the piano accompaniment
• a song from a cartoon
• a song from a children movie or musical theater
• a song or an art song of a composer of 19 century
• a piece from Baroque repertoire
• an art song of the composer of 19th and 20th century
• a piece from Baroque repertoire
• an aria from Classical, Romantic, Modern repertoire
E, F - any two pieces of contrasting repertoire


The Stars Of Summer Panel Of Judges
Carl Topilow, President
Carl Topilow, founding conductor of the renowned Cleveland Pops Orchestra, combines decades of experience as conductor, clarinetist, and entertainer, presenting innovative concerts in both the pops and classical spheres, Faculty Emeritus after 37 years of service as Conductor and Director of the Orchestral Program at CIM.
Maria Ludko, Voice
Maria Ludko, soprano, musicologist, Honored Artist of Russia, Professor of Vocal department of St.Petersburg Conservatory, Russia
Nicoleta Roman, Voice
Nicoleta Roman, Mezzo soprano Lyric Artist-Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Piano teacher and vocal coach, agent (AGT); 2015 to present-Talent manager and artist consultant Representing: Aldo Blaga, Tavi Benz, Paul Rădulescu, Ștefan Glăvănescu
Joyce Mariani, Voice
Joyce Mariani, the President of Italian Cultural Garden, producer of Opera in the Italian Garden
Evgenia Terentieva, Voice and Piano
Evgenia Terentieva, singer, pianist, composer, a winner of international singing and piano competitions and prestigious awards, such as Gold Franz Kafka Medal for her outstanding contribution to the world culture and a “Queen’s Award” from the British Council. She is a President of the UK branch of the World Association of Performing Arts, Founder and the Executive producer of the “Stars of the Albion” performing arts festivals and of the “Musica Nova” International Academy of Music in London, United Kingdom
Athina Savvidow, Voice and Piano
Athina Savvidow, pianist, vocalist, director of Music School in Perea, Thessaloniki, producer of International Moments Competition and Festival in Greece;
Ralitsa Georgieva-Smith, Piano
Ralitsa Georgieva-Smith, the pianist, CIM faculty, founder of “Music for Our Children” annual concert, a benefit for UNICEF
Irina Tchernova, Piano
Irina Tchernova, the pianist, director of Elena Obraztsova Cultural Center, producer of Young Opera International Singers Competition, Elena Obraztsova Young Vocalists International Competition, director of the children musical theater Golden Clef, St. Petersburg, Russia
The Stars of Summer Panel of Judges

Carl Topilow, United States

Maria Ludko, Russia;
Nicoleta Roman, United States;
Joyce Mariani, United States;

Voice and Piano:
Evgenia Terentieva, United Kingdom;
Athina Savvidow, Greece;

Ralitsa Georgieva-Smith, United States;
Irina Tchernova, Russia.

Panel of Judges estimates participants in 100 points system, based on NFMC requirements.
Judges' invitation to participate in one of their event = 1point, so the result could be 100+

1st place
2nd place
3rd place
Honorable Mention 49%+

Talent (Warmth, Vitality, Clarity, Control)

Accuracy (Correct Notes, Time Values, Tempo, Intonation)

Technique (Tone, Hand Position, Fingering, Pedal, Bowing, Articulation, Tonguing, Breath Control, Diction)

Musicianship (Interpretation, Style, Phrasing, Dynamics)

Poise (Stage presence, Audience Rapport, General Effect)

Awards and winners' performances
Participants may be chosen by judges to take part in the events of:
Elena Obraztsova Cultural Center, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Stars of the Albion Competition/Festival, London, Great Britain
International Moments Competition/Festival, Thessaloniki, Greece

Certificates of Appreciation to the Winners (1st, 2nd, 3rd places)
Diplomas to Winners and Honorable Mentioned participants
Certificates of Participation as a Donor to all participants
Special Prizes for performing pieces of Russian and Italian composers
Special Prize of the Russian Garden and Cleveland Ballet 2021
for the best performance of S. Rachmaninoff Spring Water with the Cleveland Ballet choreography at the Gala
Special prizes from the local businesses
1st, 2nd, 3rd place winners will be displayed on the Competition web site and YouTube Channel
Selected winners will be scheduled to perform in person or/and on the video at Gala Concert on the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Centennial Peace Plaza in Rockefeller Park.
Winners' performances
1st, 2nd, 3rd place winners will be offered to perform:
in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens' One World Day Celebration
in the events of the Russian Cultural Garden
in the events of the Italian Cultural Garden
in the concerts in different cultural venues of Greater Cleveland
in the National and International events upon the Judges invitation
in on-line broadcast of their performance in the Gardens
Gala Concert and Awards Ceremony at the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Centennial Peace Plaza:
Certificates and prizes will be presented to the winners and their teachers at the Gala performance on August 21, 2021 or mailed.

Gala Concert and Award Ceremony
August 21 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Cleveland Cultural Gardens' Centennial Peace Plaza
You are invited to the Stars of Summer Gala Concert, talk, and 5 o'clock tea ceremony and reception to enjoy the fine art of Opera, ballet, and instrumental music and to celebrate the winners of the International Piano and Vocal competition.

WHEN: Saturday, August 21. 6 p.m. performance, pre-show talk at 5:30 p.m., tea ceremony, and reception at 5 p.m.

WHERE: Cleveland Cultural Gardens' new Centennial Peace Plaza at 1051 Martin Luther King Blvd.

WHERE TO PARK: Parking on the west side of Martin Luther King Boulevard and on East Boulevard. Look for signs for ADA accommodations. Parking is free.

WHAT TO WEAR: Dress code is smart casual. We ask ladies to wear hats, gloves are optional. Umbrellas are highly recommended to protect you from bright August afternoon sun.

WHY ATTEND: Enjoy Saturday afternoon at the elegant setting of the historical Cleveland Cultural Gardens, filled with music, dance and lively conversation.

Plan to arrive at 5 pm to take part in the tea ceremony and reception. Meet local artists who will showcase their art and crafts. The Stage event starts at 5:30 pm with a short discussion of the multicultural Cleveland art and culture scene and of the contribution to the American and World music and dance by the talents from the Russian, Italian, Greek and other ethnic communities of Cleveland.

The Cleveland Ballet will open the performance with the scene from Alice in Wonderland. Local young musicians along with participants from other cities and from Canada, the winners and laureates of The Stars of Summer competition will showcase their talents. The Special Russian Prize winner will perform Rachmaninov's Spring Waters with the Cleveland Ballet.

After intermission, the String quartet from Music Stars in the Classics will open the second act with the Tchaikovsky's piece that will be followed by the Award ceremony and performances by young pianists and vocalists. Final piece will be performed by the local opera singers along with the Cleveland Ballet.

1) An online, non-edited video of their performance, recorded in 2021. Home videos will be accepted. The camera COULD be stopped for the second piece and a possible change of the attire. Video should start from the performance, no verbal introduction is needed. Names of composers, titles of pieces and the name of the participant must be listed on the video title. Names of the participants and pieces originally written in other alphabeth should be translated into English and spelled correctly.
The videos not to exceed the duration time (5 minutes). Videos should be uploaded to YouTube or any other platform. They will be published on Russian Cultural Garden and Italian FB page/website.

2) The application form with the applicant's first and last name, date of birth; address; phone number and email address; the teacher's name and email address; the teacher's email address; a link to the video; a photo (headshot) of the applicant; the application fee, and a short biography.

All entries become the sole property of the Stars of Summer and will not be returned to the applicant for any reason. Entries must be received no later than the competition deadline (see below). Entries will be rejected if they are late, incomplete, damaged, irregular, mutilated, forged or garbled. The Stars of Summer is not responsible for late, lost, damaged, misdirected, stolen, incomplete, or misappropriated entries.

Neither the Stars of Summer, nor the panel of judges associated with the competition, will give any feedback or critique to entrants. No communication or correspondence is guaranteed to be exchanged with applicants except with those selected as winners.

Deadline and the calendar of events
August 10, 2021 * - deadline for submission of all application materials and information.

August 17, 2021 - Winners will be announced.

August 21, 2021 from 5 pm till 7:30 pm - 5 o'clock tea ceremony, reception, Competition Award Ceremony, and Gala Concert at the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Centennial Peace Plaza. Young Stars of Summer will share the stage with the Cleveland Ballet, M.U.S.I.C. Instrumental group, professional Opera singers.

August 29, 2021 from 11 am till 6 pm - the 75th One World Day celebration in the Cultural Gardens. Praise the MusicTeacher Reception and concert of the winners of the Stars of Summer.

Please send your entries as soon as possible.

Do not wait for the deadline.
* Due to the newest COVID-19 restrictions, many teachers and applicants contacted the Organizational committee with the request to submit the applications a few days later. Board made a decision to allow contestants to submit the applications after the announced deadline but not later than at 5:00 npm Eastern Time on August 14, 2021. The late submission fee is $65 for soloists and $90 for ensembles.

If you have additional questions, please email

Solo: a non-refundable, $50 fee/donation, for one entry in each category.
Ensemble: a non-refundable $75.00 fee/donation, for one entry in each category

Applicants selected by our International judges for participating in their competitions, pay a flat fee of $25.00 to The Stars of Summer to participate in the selected events.

Applicants, referred for participation in The Stars of Summer by Stars of the Albion, International Moments, Elena Obraztsova Cultural Center, are paying their fees to those institutions according to their price.
Please note, if the DONATE button does not work, please email us at, and we will be happy to send you an invoice.

Our location
Photos are courtesy of Olga's Music Studio, Moro Design Studio, The Italian Cultural Garden, The Russian Cultural Garden, and The Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation

By entering the competition, an applicant releases and holds the Russian and Italian Cultural Gardens, the Cleveland Cultural GardensFederation and/or the City of Cleveland harmless from any and all liability for any injuries, loss or damage of any kind to the entrant or any other person, including personal injury, death, or property damage, resulting in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from acceptance, possession, use or misuse of any award, participation in the competition and/ recital, any breach of the Competition Rules, or in any award-related activity. The applicant agrees to fully indemnify Russian and Italian Cleveland Cultural Gardens, The Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation and/or the City of Cleveland from any and all claims by third parties relating to the competition, without limitation.

Limitation of liability:

Russian and Italian Cultural Gardens, The Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation and/or the City of Cleveland assumes no responsibility or liability for lost, late, unintelligible/illegible, falsified, damaged, misdirected or incomplete entries, notifications, responses, replies or any release, or for any computer, online, software, telephone, hardware or technical malfunctions that may occur, including but not limited to malfunctions that may affect the transmission or non-transmission of an audition materials. The Russian and Italian Cultural Gardens, The Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation and/or the City of Cleveland is not responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by website users, by any of the equipment or programming associated with, or utilized in the Competition or by any technical or human error, which may occur in the administration of the Competition.

Russian and Italian Cultural Gardens, The Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation and/or the City of Cleveland is not responsible for any injury or damage to entrant or to any computer related to or resulting from participating or downloading materials in this competition. Entrant assumes liability for injuries caused or claimed to be caused by participating in the Competition, or by the acceptance, possession, use of, or failure to receive any prize. Russian and Italian Cultural Gardens, The Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation and/or the City of Cleveland assumes no responsibility or liability in the event that the Competition cannot be conducted as planned for any reason, including those reasons beyond the control, such as infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or corruption of the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of this Competition and/or the Competition Website or weather.

Copyright (C) 2021 The Stars Of Summer Music Competition and Festival
The Russian Cultural Garden 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt organization
5225 Warrensville Center Rd. Maple Heights, OH 44137 216-512-0505

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