Teacher’s-pet Tchaikovsky winner goes to London agent

Teacher’s-pet Tchaikovsky winner goes to London agent


norman lebrecht

November 13, 2019

The Russian violinist Sergei Dogadin won one international competition after another where his teacher, Boris Kushnir, was on the jury. He made a fortune in prizes.

Last year, Dogadin won the Tchaikovsky competition, with Kushnir on the panel.

Today, he was signed (the press release says) ‘to the HarrisonParrott family of distinguished artists’.

No-one doubts that Dogadin can play. It’s just the manner of his ascent that is dubious.




  • V. Lind says:

    If there is corruption in music juries, people with strong views, such as yourself, should do something about it — even articles in mainstream media, to which you have a lot of access.

    Otherwise, winners (who do not choose themselves) are getting slagged off in fora such as this. It is not fair. Seven words in this post above exempt him from blame. The rest, including that header, taints him.

    • esfir ross says:

      Even competitions try not to have teachers of competitors on a jury-there “quid-pro-quo” prevail.

    • Jeffrey Biegel says:

      I have seen many friends enter competitions, win them, occasionally their teachers are on the jury, they get signed with management, recordings, etc, and then ten years later, gone. My teacher, Adele Marcus, once told a student, ‘those who go in through the back door, usually go out the same way, dear’. Careers are sustained over time, and not solely because of competition wins. They are indeed helpful, but the connections made at these events have more long-term effect beyond the results when cultivated and maintained over time. Managements also enjoy signing winners because they are ‘hot’ on the scene, and plus, they can contract the winners concerts. OK, but what happens after is proof of the pudding. My blunt two cents, which I share with my students so they have a reality check. Better they should hear it from me than the critics!

    • Leopold says:

      “If there is corruption in music juries” Why the “if”? Almost all competitions I followed so far are either seriously flawed are clearly corrupt. Horrible.

    • Esther Cavett says:

      This has become a bit of an obsession on SD.

      The HP representation is 3rd party perspective that this guy can play. He’d have sunk without trace if he were just a teacher’s pet. Please can’t we just move on from this ?

  • Alexander Tarak says:

    It’s been an open secret for decades that the way these competitions are adjudicated is, to say the least,dubious.

  • fflambeau says:

    “Influence” has always been important in these decisions. Look at any major artist and you see that: their talent is not that much better than countless other players.

    I think this is a harsh verdict on this young performer. The question is: is he worthy? And it seems like the answer is: yes.

  • Bill says:

    Big agencies want to sign musicians who will be successful. They have their pick of countless candidates. Whether or not you think there was a thumb on the scale during the competitions, these folks (who have seen a musician or two) thought that Dogadin was worth signing in order to collect a piece of gigs he will get without any jury shenanigans.

    But if you don’t like the talent on offer, don’t buy the ticket.

    • Jeffrey Biegel says:

      If I managed an agency representing artists of various stages of careers, I would make sure there was one department working with and building careers of competition winners and new artists on the scene. It makes no sense for them to be pooled together with older, established artists vying for the same dates. This would also help young artist managers grow in their field while working with young artists starting out.

  • Anon says:

    Besides, he’s ugly as sin! If it’s all politics, at least we should get some eye candy, right? Oops! Does judging appearances only fly when we’re referring to women?

    • Shimi says:

      Good ol’ Galamian used to say “if it looks bad, it is likely wrong”.. The posture captured in the image is just…. meh