Victory of the 9-year-old Ohio singer Alex Kosma at the unique children’s international classical vocal competition in St. Petersburg, Russia

Of the four young vocalists who defended the US flag on the stage of the 8th Elena Obraztsova International Competition of Young Vocalists, the star jury of the competition, headed by Makvala Kasrashvili, Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Opera, selected 9 years old Alex Cosma from North Royalton, Ohio for the final audition. Out of 27 foreign participants in all three age groups from 9 to 17 years old, 8 young singers from the USA, Australia, Estonia, Switzerland, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan passed to the Final and the jury awarded only one 3rd prize to a contestant from the USA among other finalists from all age groups. All Finalists received Diplomas of participants of the competition. This year, foreign participants represented their countries by video recording, and 95 participants from Russia performed on the stage of the State Choir Capella named after Glinka.

The results of the competition were announced by the Russian state news agency TASS on August 26, 2020.

The Elena Obraztsova International Competition of Young Vocalists has been organized by the Cultural Center and the Foundation of her name in St. Petersburg since 2006. The great singer, the star of the world opera scene, well understood the need to teach children classical vocal from an early age, and the children’s classical singing competition she founded allows professionals to trace the path of becoming a professional vocalist and help teachers and students exchange experiences. The history of Western classical music, which essentially began with learning to sing, play the instruments, and many musical and cultural disciplines in orphanages, called conservatories in Italy, invariably returns to the need for serious vocal training from an early age. The permanent success of classically trained young voices in television competitions such as AGT popularizes this time-honored axiom. In Russia, where the Italian system of comprehensive music education for children from an early age has been preserved in the system of state music schools, with mass training of children in classical singing, the Exemplary Competition is a locomotive in teaching children throughout the country, the post-soviet countries and the whole world. For foreign participants, as a rule, who do not have a comprehensive musical education, but study with private teachers, this is a very difficult test.


Alex Cosma withstood the competition with honor both with perfectly prepared students from the countries of the former USSR, which preserved the system of music schools, and with students from private teachers of Switzerland and Australia.

He presented the program in Italian, German and Russian and won the jury with his performance of a Neapolitan folk song Lo Granatello, Schubert’s Serenade, Torna a Surriento by  Curtis and  Dunaevsky’s Joyful Wind. Studying vocal and piano in a private Olga’s Music Studio, whose students sing in the production of Cleveland Opera Theater, Cleveland Ballet, Opera in Italian Garden  and many venues and competitions, Alex, at the age of 9, has experience both in vocal contests and in productions of Cleveland Ballet in the seasons 2017, 2018, 2019. He was invited to participate in the performances of Cleveland Opera 2020. At the age of 8, he sang a recital of Italian songs for Italian society Cenacolo di Cleveland and was a great success. He received his first pay check at age of 7 from Cleveland Composers Guild for performing a vocal sycle of the Guild member M.A.Griebling. Taking part in various competitions, he had the opportunity to perform in Gala concerts at Carnegie Hall, in the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, at Shalin Liu Rockport Concert Hall, MA and at the One World Day in Cleveland Cultural Gardens in Cleveland OH.

Alex is from an ethnic Romanian family who goes to North Royalton school and enjoys playing soccer, swimming and playing with his younger brother. He won the Mamma! competition for Cleveland Young Vocalists dedicated to Mother’s Day and gave his dear mother his success and a wonderful photo session, which was also a prize. Chairman of the jury of this competition, Artistic Director of the Cleveland Opera Dr.Sobieska invited Alex to their theater productions of 2020; another member of the jury, President of Italian Cultural Garden Ms.Mariani, invited Alex to sing at one of the most popular Cleveland Summer concert Opera in the Italian Garden.

Cleveland, a city with an active musical life and an unique ethnic community of Cultural Gardens, is not accidentally the city representing the United States in a unique and very difficult international competition.

Russian Cultural Garden of Cleveland, member of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation, actively supports young artists, pianists, singers and preserves the memory of outstanding figures of Russian culture, science, and art. In the Garden, among others, the Obraztsova Memorial was created. Supporting art and International cultural connections, it was established a Special prize and Diploma for Outstanding Artistic Performance for Russian participants of the Elena Obraztsova International  Competition of Young Vocalists. Russian Cultural Garden took part in an online concert-broadcast of  Obraztsova Cultural Center  Planet Obraztsova 2020.

American team on 8th Elena Obraztsova International Competition of Young Vocalists 2020 included 4 participants: Alex Cosma, Evangeline Rahimov, Nicholas Oita and Brianna Bogdan who also were prepared very strong and got a warm support from the public and experts.

All of them are students of Olga’s Music Studio under instruction of Olga Druzhinina and participated in many contests, events and productions of Cleveland Ballet.

Many thanks for the help to:

  • the President of the Russian Cultural Garden, vice President of CCGF S.Stolyarova;
  • Ohio Steinway Gallery and Ms.Good;
  • Moro Design Studio and Ms.Moro;
  • the consultant, Ms. Dina Toliver-Kuznetsova, CIM faculty;
  • the consultant, Mr. Tim Culver, Professor of Kent State University;
  • the consultant, Ms. Joyce Mariani, President of Italian Cultural Garden;
  • the pianist, Ms.Melivia Raharjo, CIM stuff.

Many thanks to the team of the 8th Elena Obraztsova International Competition 2020 under leading of Ms. I.Tchernova and Ms. N.Ignatenko for their hard work in the pandemic situation who were able to organize competition in it’s splendid standard and give Russian and  International contestants the precious chance to be seen by starring jury and worldwide.

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