Piano competition winner is still playing bars

Michael Fine reports from the jury room of the 9th International Adilia Alieva Piano Competition in Gaillard, France, that the first prize winner, Lucas Debargue, has to play in bars around Paris and at the Gare de St Denis to pay for his tuition at the Cortot Conservatoire.


The prize is 8,000 Euros. It might earn him a few nights off.

Lucas should go far. And not just by train.


UPDATE: Michael Fine adds: The story I got was that his teacher ‘forced’ him to enter the competition. He seemed taken completely by surprise when he learned that he was the 1st Prize winner in the professional division. I must say that from the first notes he played, I was impressed. Of all the young candidates, he was one who knew how to voice and balance the music creating an orchestral timbre and found a range of colours which elude most young pianists. In the youth division, I was similarly impressed by Nathalia Milstein, the young granddaughter of the great violinist’s brother, also a fine musician but he suffered from crippling state fright, or so I was told. Anyone reading who would like to give two extraordinarily fine and interesting musicians a chance — please let me know.

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  • Monsieur Debargue est dans la deuxième partie du Concours Tchaïkovski. Est-ce qu’il y a un moyen de lui contacter pour lui offrir un concert ici à Vancouver?

  • As I have learned, he has no piano of his own, and has to study whenever and wherever he can. I would also like to contact mr Debargue in order to donate him my Steinway B211 piano. He has a facebook page, but i dont think he administrates it, as my offer got no answear.

      • Well…somebody answeared, left my e-mail address. I dont see it as an act of goodnes. Unfortunatly, i dont live in Paris, nor France. Enfin, lets see what happens.

    • So… If you have a real plan we may discuss it. Is it possible on this page? Or we may discuss it in e-mail. It is important: your country/city – his address (now it is unknown for me…), ways of transporting with financial details (may be sponsors? or money of admirers?).

  • The prize is 5000 $, not 8000 euro! And actually he had to win this competition, he was a winner of the hearts, the audience love him more than all the other contestants together. As always the jury had to decide for a Russian pianist even if he has neither personality nor solid technique. George Li won the Second prize only because his level was 100 times higher, otherwise he could be thrown away after the semifinals. I think Lucas Debargue does not need to participate at the competitions, he is too different from the classical competitor’s image. I wish him from all my heart to find a very good manager and a lots of concerts in all the worlds, he deserves it as nobody else!

    • Lucas Dubarg has win 1st prize at the 9th Adilia Alieva international Piano Competition and he recived 8000 €.and not 5000€, as you mention.

  • You can see a group vKontakte, dedicated to Debargue: http://vk.com/debarg. We can help you with money, if necessary!
    Dear YAROSTAN! I see, you have Debargue’s e-mail. Can you give it us?) Our groupe so need it!

  • I have been enthralled by Lucas’ performances (George Li’s as well). He almost brings a sense of rapture to his extremely personal interpretations.

    I have had a question about Museev ALWAYS being programmed last, a position of some power, as it lingers in the memory. Almost as if something had been prearranged. (Perhaps it’s been ITC policy that any surviving Russian contestant takes the last place in the performance order.) At any rate I feel that Dmitry gave his poorest performance in St Petersburg. Gergiev seemed to begin before he was actually ready (the only occasion that I witnessed this happening in the competition. The conductors were without fail solicitous to the soloist). His timing (Dmitry’s) seemed to be off, he was pounding the piano, etc. In all a very unmusical (barnstorming) performance. I think he is capable of better, and I actually felt sorry for him. Of course the Russian audience went crazy, but not in the same way as they did for Lucas, or the brilliant baritone,, who justifiably won the Grand Prix. (I, wishfully perhaps, thought that it might go to Lucas, but Gergiev is probably not that brave as to contravene the Jury as the Moscow Critics did.)
    I also thought it was demeaning to George Li to have him play what amounted to an “introduction” to Dmitry’s performance.
    In closing, I want to commend Gergiev’s stewardship of the Competition. I knew that he was a great talent before this, but now I believe him to be a Great Soul in the tradition of the late, beloved maestro, Claudio Abado, as well. Gracias.
    I myself am not a pianist, not even a musician, but a poet, a poet whose soul has been touched, deepened and enlivened by Classical Music over and over again.

  • So… If you have a real plan we may discuss it. Is it possible on this page? Or we may discuss it in e-mail. It is important: your country/city – his address (now it is unknown for me…), ways of transporting with financial details (may be sponsors? or money of admirers?).

  • ”left my e-mail adress”, that is ”I left my e-mail adress” in my conversation with his facebook page administrator.

    • OK. And our group will try to ask him in interview. So, it would be good if he tells us about his own plans according to the instrument. If it is a promlem for him, we must help him!

    • Do you have any news? I’m afraid (myself), but if Lucas don’t want the interview, I’ll simply write him (not later than 14/06) about your piano…

  • It is 14/07 (sorry, not 06). Debarg will play at the concert at 19:00 (Sain-Petersburg). It is said that he can’t reply before this… May I ask him about piano today (by e-mail)?

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