Polina Tarasenko wins Aeolus competition

22 year old Ukrainian trombonist Polina Tarasenko won the trombone category of the 2023 Aeolus Competition in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Tarasenko has a unique background as a trombonist, which is reflected in her very personal style and musicianship. She grew up in Kherson in eastern Ukraine, starting her musical musical career playing Dixieland jazz. Her youth group, under the guidance of Semen Ryvkin, frequently played in festivals and concerts in Ukraine and abroad. She also studied piano and music theory. After winning a competition, she enrolled in the Gnesin Russian Academy of Music in Moscow, studying trombone, trumpet, saxophone, piano, organ and composition.

Having several musical interests, her choice for higher level studies still fell on classical trombone. From 2019 to 2022, she studied at HMTMH Hanover with Jonas Bylund, and she is currently a master student of Ian Bousfield in Bern.

As a soloist, Polina Tarasenko is already a featured artist by the UR classics, and is starting a promising career, performing in major venues all over Europe. Tarasenko is also an active chamber musician, having founded the Anima Trombone Quartet with fellow students in Hanover.

3 other trombonists also received prizes at the competition: Elai Grisaru won 4th prize and Roberto de la Guía Martínez took home the 6th prize after the semi finals. Sophie Bright was awarded the special prize for the best interpretation of a contemporary piece.

Each year, 3 different instruments are featured, and the categories this time were trumpet, trombone and tuba. The prize pool is a total of €60.000, and the first prize alone was €20.000. The final was streamed live on YouTube, and you can watch her performance here.

The final results were as follows:
1st prize: James Vauguen (US), trumpet
2nd prize: Xianhua Liu (China), tuba
3rd prize: Polina Tarasenko (Ukraine), trombone

Audience Prize: James Vaughen.
Prize for best interpretation of a contemporary piece: Sophie Bright (UK).

Eyvind Sommerfelt
ITA Online News Coordinator.

Photos by Monika Lawrenz and Philippe Stier