International DC Trio - Winners of EUTERPE International Music Competition in Italy

June 29, 2015 - 12:47


The Trio from Washington is an outstanding phenomenon on the contemporary music scene. Founded three years ago by Serge Khrichenko, professional musician, virtuoso guitarist, and composer, enraptured its audience with its very first performances.

The repertoire of the trio consists of compositions written by Serge Khrichenko in different styles - jazz, classical, Latin, country, bluegrass, modern, folk, indie; as well as classical and popular masterpieces.  They are masterfully performed by classical musicians Anna Nizhegordtseva (piano) and Enrique Reynosa (violin). All the musicians are from different countries - Anna is from Russia, Enrique is from Mexico, and Serge has been living and studying music in America for many years.  And so an international team formed that unites a common desire to express itself through music and a high level of mastery and skill.

International DC Trio can be heard at the Russian Cultural Center, the Russian Embassy in Washington, as well as at private concerts and live performances in other American cities, from Arlington, Virginia, to Charlotte, North Carolina.

In May of this year the musicians of International DC Trio participated in the International Music Competition in Italy - EUTERPE and underwent two qualifying rounds. They represented America and won in the category of chamber music. Serge Khrichenko specially composed all works for this competition, which the jury highly received. 


International DC Trio with the organizer, Francesco De Santis (from left to right: Serge Khrichenko, Anna Nizhegorodtseva, Francesco De Santis, Enrique Reynosa)

The title of the musical competition, EUTERPE, comes from the name of the Greek goddess Euterpe. In Greek mythology Euterpe is the Muse of Music, one of the nine Muses and patrons of the arts.  They were the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, sister of Melpomene (Muse of Tragedy) and Terpsichore (Muse of Dance). Francesco De Santis, an outstanding Italian musician, composer, and conservatory teacher organized this competition 17 years ago for the development of musical culture, discovering new talent, as well as to attract tourists to this unique and beautifully historic region of Southern Italy, Apulia (Ital. Puglia).

This region is also called the 'pearl' of southern Italy. It is located on the 'heel' of the Apennine Peninsula and borders the Adriatic Sea.

Each year, in southern Italy, in the small town of Corato, Province of Bari, the Puglia region attracts musicians from all over the world in a fair competition to evaluate their skills. This year it brought together more than 150 musicians from Austria, Italy, France, Poland, the Czech Republic, Macedonia, Russia, China, Korea, Japan, America and other countries.

Competitions were held in 4 categories - stringed instruments, piano solo, vocal, and chamber.


International DC Trio performs at the EUTERPE Competition in Italy.

International DC Trio competed in the chamber music category. They were the first in the history of EUTERPE to include a trio with an electric-acoustic guitar, which at first caused the organizers some disconcert. Then, after successful qualification of the preliminary round, the organizers assured that they could provide an amplifier and all else necessary to connect the guitar.

Before the performance the trio was allocated only 30 minutes to connect and configure equipment, while at the same time other participants of the competition had to rehearse on stage, so that the setup time was reduced almost in half.  The trio reduced the overall volume.   Afterwards, jury members commented that they did not have enough sound to enjoy the guitar. They were enthralled by Serge Khrichenko’s unique technique, and at moments would have liked to have had more volume on his guitar solos.

Jurors also highly appreciated virtuoso violin sets by Enrique Reynosa and sophisticated piano sets by Anna Nizhegorodtseva, performed perfectly, and the entire diverse repertoire of the trio, which included the latest composition by Serge Khrichenko. The trio’s performance was a success, and they were able to move forward by just a few points over a Japanese duo, resulting in an esteemed 3rd place.


International DC Trio – winners of the EUTERPE International Music Competition in Italy

A place of honor, because to be recognized by the esteemed members of the jury at this prestigious music competition, to be listed among the winners and to participate in the gala concert for the general public upon the conclusion of the competition in the most beautiful building of the Teatro Comunale was indeed a great honor!

All members of the jury were renowned musicians and conservatory teachers in Italy and throughout the world. They are also jury members for other music competitions. The chairman of the jury was Marcello Abbado, a world-famous Italian composer and conductor. He graduated from Milan Conservatory and later became its director, performed many solos, conducted the Vienna Orchestra, and composed many musical works, including ballets.

He comes from a musical family; the son of the famous Italian violinist Michelangelo Abbado and the father of the famous conductor Roberto Abbado. Klaudio Abbado, Marcello Abbado's brother, was an outstanding opera and symphony conductor and musical figure. He was the chief conductor and artistic director of La Scala and the Vienna State Opera; listed as number three among the world’s top 20 conductors of 20th Century. He died in January 2014 at the age of 80 years.


Anna Nizhegorodtseva with the Gold Cup and with jury members at the EUTERPE competition in Italy. Marcello Abbado stands to the left of Anna in the group photo.

Marcello Abbado praised the solo performance by Anna Nizhegorodtseva in the piano solo category at the same EUTERPE competition.  Anna won first place. He personally handed her the Gold Cup, diplomas and prizes for this victory and invited her to the next music competition to be held in Italy in July of this year on the island of Sicily. In addition to winning the chamber music trio category, Anna won best in the solo competition; twice in the EUTERPE competition!


Anna Nizhegorodtseva performs solo at the EUTERPE competition

This is not the first victory of Anna Nizhegorodtseva at an international music competition. She won for the first time at the International Competition in Kiev in 2005, when she studied at the Glinka Conservatory in Nizhny Novgorod, and then won 2nd place in 2006 in Nizhny Novgorod itself. Her record of victories during her studies in both Russia and in America:

2008 – Finalist in the Malaga, Spain International Competition

2009 – 2nd place in the Moscow Chamber Competition

In 2010 she immediately attained two wins in America, in California, where she arrived on fellowship to study at Azusa Pacific University:  First Place at CAPMT (California Association of Professional Music Teachers) and Second Place in the Liszt Competition. 

Having graduated cum laude from Asuza University, she entered Catholic University in Washington where she continues to study for a doctorate in music under Professor Nikita Fitenko.

2013 – An unforgettable performance at Carnegie Hall in New York

2014 –1st price at the Lewisville Lake Symphony International Piano Competition in Texas and solo recital with the Lewisville Lake Symphony Orchestra.  

 And now, in May 2015, two instant and well-deserved victories in the competition in Italy.  It belies the great talent of Anna Nizhegorodtseva and gives great credit to her mentor at Catholic University, Nikita Fitenko.


Enrique Reynosa

Enrique Reynosa, a talented virtuoso, performs the violin sets.  He is from a family of famous Mexican violinists. There are up to 20 musicians in his family - classical violinists and members of mariachi bands (traditional Mexican folk music). Enrique is a unique violinist.  He combines both musical cultures as both a classical and mariachi musician!

He has achieved success playing for the Pan American Symphony Orchestra, as well as for Gallos Negros (Black Cocks), a Mexican mariachi band, with whom he had the honor of performing at the White House before President Barack Obama and his guests at a Cinco de Mayo (Mexico's Independence Day) celebration.

Enrique graduated from the College of Music in Mexico.  At age 17 he came to America as a gifted violinist, and continued his education at Shenandoah Conservatory, Winchester, Virginia, and then entered the University of California (Azusa Pacific University / CA).  Upon graduation he, like Anna, is defending his doctorate in music at Catholic University, studying under the famous violinist, Professor Jose Cueto.

Enrique often has toured in America, Italy, South Korea, Canada, and in Latin America with various orchestras. He participated in various international festivals and won 1st place in the Chamber Music Competition in 2004 in Virginia.


Serge Khrichenko

The leader of the trio is Serge Khrichenko, a talented musician and composer who actually created this group in order to be able to express their own music. His compositions are a mix of classics and jazz to provide new material for such classical artists as Anna and Enrique and offer them new horizons in music.

Serge possesses an original technique to play the guitar.  His distinct play is characterized by a self-invented piano style; he plays the guitar horizontally while holding it on his lap.

Serge was born in Russia and graduated from the prestigious Rimsky-Korsakov Music Conservatory in Leningrad, and then the Jazz School, and worked for many years in the Leningrad Philharmonic and Leningrad Concert Hall. He toured throughout the country and the former Soviet Union. Even then, in Leningrad, he began to jointly arrange famous songs and to write his own compositions, which musicians enthusiastically performed.    

Then, in the years of Perestroika, he immigrated to the US and continued his musical career and experiments in classical music and jazz.


International DC Trio after performing at the Russian Cultural Center at the “Saint Petersburg White Nights Festival”.

Serge Khrichenko frequently appears in local clubs and at major venues in Washington both as a soloist and with the International DC Trio.  He can be heard at the Russian Cultural Center, at the Russian Embassy in Washington, at the Austrian Embassy, ​at the French Embassy Music Festival, ​​Cherry Blossom Festival, at Couture Fashion Week in New York and on tour across America and Russia.

In 2012, Serge Khrichenko participated in the International Festival 'Guitar World' in Kaluga, where he received great acclaim from the audience. He has received many awards for his works. His musical composition, “Dangerous Journey”, even entered the 'Top 10 on Earth' in the UK International Songwriting Contest in 2007 in the category of jazz fusion. Enrique Reynosa passionately performed this composition during the competition in Italy.


International DC Trio with the artist Vincenzo Mascoli at the Teatro Comunale.

The EUTERPE has developed its own tradition since its creation. It brings together not only musicians, but artists as well. This year's logo for the contest was designed by a young and talented Italian artist, Vincenzo Mascoli. He exhibited his paintings in Teatro Comunale, where the competition took place. The logo was very symbolic. It portrayed a little girl with a violin, Leia Zhu, surrounded by well-known musicians. She was the winner of the EUTERPE competition at seven years of age in 2013, and now the whole world has been made aware of her.  Leia is Chinese, but she was born in London. 

Due to her extraordinary abilities, and owing to sponsors, Leia plays a unique instrument – a violin from the famous violin maker Giovanni Granchino (Milan 1696), a student of Nicolo Amati.  She was depicted with this instrument on the competition's logo installed on the stage where the competition occurred.


International DC Trio at the EUTEPE award ceremony.

Of course, winning on such a stage as the EUTERPE International Music Competition provides the musicians with further perspectives.  All of the winners are officially listed and rewarded with priceless gifts and professional recordings of their performances.  They are invited to future competitions and to tour throughout various countries.  And so, International Trio DC, upon completion of the competition, received an invitation to perform at the Italian resort area in Bisceglie, near Bari, where they performed for vacationers.

Moreover, Anna Nizhegorodtseva, in addition to a studio recording and prize, immediately received an invitation to give a concert in France, where she will go to at the end of June of this year.


Olga Khrichenko

On-line Reporter

Washington, DC

Photographer and Author

Video of the International DC Trio at: 


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