International Music Competition & Festival



Q: What does IBLA stand for?

A: IBLA is the name of the UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE ancient Baroque quarters of Ragusa - Ibla, the southernmost province of Italy in Sicily. Ragusa and Ibla are twin cities built on two 300 meters hills. Ibla is the ancient city and Ragusa is the more modern one. Both the City of Ragusa and Ragusa IBLA are degnated UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE areas because of their splending Baroque architecture. The Monti Iblei that surround the area take the name from the ancient name of Ibla. The Mediterrenean coast line is only 20 minutes away. It overlooks the island of Malta. The closest airport is Comiso Magliocco Airport (20Km). The second closest is Catania Fontanarossa Airport (100 Km).


Q: When is the application deadline?

A: The office in New York accepts applications all year round. We recommend to apply from October through February. Deadlines are indicated in the website. To obtain a deadline extension you simply need to contact the office, motivate and request it. Please do not panic and employ expensive mailing services, registered and or express mail because of fear of missing a deadline! In general you will not be required to send regular mail and if and when necessary you will be surprised of how quickly regular mail reaches New York City from everywhere in the world. The office will do whatever necessary to help you.


Q: Are there traditional competition rounds and are there selected days for each specific category and division? Can I be eliminated in any round?

A: No, you cannot be eliminated as there are no traditional 'rounds' in the IBLA GRAND PRIZE Competition. Once admitted, you will play all your scheduled performances. All performances are public and are judged by Jurors. The frequency of public performances will give you the possibility to get over anxiety, fears, jetlag and what else can affect your psychological status. You will be expected to perform your music program or selections of it several times during your stay. For every performance the Jury will select portions of your music program to be performed in a specific venue. Performances will take place in multiple venues simultaneously. Through this process the Jurors can get a better feeling of who you are as a musician and how you handle the stress of consecutive performances as if you were in a concert tour. The IBLA GRAND PRIZE Competition is very different from the traditional format you may be generally accustomed to. The Competition is structured as a Festival with a sequence of concerts and recitals, where contestants are never judged against each other as in a ‘horse race’: in fact extreme attention is given to the fact that the evaluation is made against a standard of excellence and not against each other. As a consequence, all categories and divisions take place throughout the competition in order to avoid direct confrontation among contestants at all times when possible. Also during the judging procedure, all comparisons between the qualities of performances of individual contestants are discouraged. Again, all comments are made against a standard of excellence and not against each other. As a consequence of this system there may be multiple prize winners.


Q: Will I perform several times my full program or selections of it?.

A: You will be asked to perform selections from your program several times according to the Jury requests. All Jury selections are final. At times the Jury has requested the full program to be performed multiple times. From the time of your arrival to the time of your departure you will be expected to perform all the selections of your approved music program one time. In addition to this the Jury will decide if and what can be performed multiple times.

Q: At the end of my acceptance letter, it states"These dates will be confirmed only at the time you receive the final office approval. Failure to obtain final office approval will result in cancellation." Well, what does this mean exactly? So, am I not definitively accepted?.

A: Yes, you are accepted! However if you fail to properly complete all the information required in the acceptance forms, then you forfeit your right to participate in the competition. The office will assist and help you in completing the forms properly.


Q: What about age limits?

A: Adult level contestants (24 and over) have no age limit. Young division is organized as following:


Competition Guidelines for Age Levels

Level                                 Age                          

A                               7-10

B                               11-14

C                               15-18

D                               19-23

Adult                         24 and over


Q: Is the music program really a free choice? Could I know what previous winners have performed?

A: Yes, we strongly encourage a free choice in presenting the music program. This is not a school jury therefore you do not have to show that you know a variety of style or a variety of languages (singers), or that you are in general a good student. You are expected to perform music you perform at its best. The program should represent your musicianship, your taste, your passion, your expertise, your identity in the music world or what you wish to be known for. Very creative programs are encouraged. You may present a program of all contemporary music or all baroque, all classic, all romantic or any combination. You may perform monothematic programs, music of only one composer of any style and period, if you wish to do so. Unpublished works are also welcome. As a winner you will be required to perform the same program or a selection of it. If you play everything very well you will qualify as a top winner. If you perform very well only a part of your program you may qualify for a specific award or honorable mention. This competition should serve as a venue to express your musical personality in its fullness. Also the specific durations of the music program are to be considered approximate: you may play a longer or shorter program if approved by the office. Please do not ask what previous winners have performed. Create your own program inspired by your talent. No strategy is needed. But if you wish to hear some of the past winners program visit the IBLA GRAND PRIZE FACEBOOK page and you will find links to live video performances of past winners.

Q: And what about the program for the Bartok – Kabalevsky – Prokofiev Competition?

A: In this case you are expected to perform any work of these composers of your own choice, in any combination (all music of one composer, or any combination of the three, including solo music, concertos and instrumental ensemble)


 Q: Hello, I am a pianist interested in both IBLA Grand Prize Competition, and Bartok Competition. I could check repertory requirement including approximate duration for IBLA Grand Prize Competition. However, I could not find information about required duration for Bartok Competition.

A: The recommended duration is between 10 and 30 minutes


Q: It means it is ok to play only one piece such as Prokofiev Piano sonata no.7, and 1st movement of Prokofiev Concerto?

A: Yes


Q: And, Is it possible to take part in 2 sections of IBLA Grand Prize Competition (Piano, Piano Concerto), and Bartok Competition at the same time?

A: Yes


Q: Final question is, for the solo section of Grand Prize Competition, Do I need to perform whole works such as entire sonata, or charter pieces including multiple movements? or Could I choose some of whole movements?

A: yes, all of the above options are available to you. It is your free choice.


Q: Also, for the Piano Concerto Section, should I play entire movements of concerto?

A: Again,it is up to you

Q: Can I change my competition repertoire?

A: Yes. We want each performer to perform at his or her best. You can make program changes at any time upon approval of the competition office. You are expected to adhere strictly to your final music choice. You may play for a shorter duration if you wish so. If you have requested the services of the official competition piano accompanist, any change to your original program must be approved in advance by the piano accompanist that has been assigned to you. Upon your arrival in Sicily if you still need to change the program, you may do so although be expected to provide the office with the new completed music program form to be given to the Jury.


Q: Where should I send copies of the music scores I intend to perform?

A: Please ask the office in advance which specific music score copies you are expected to provide. Generally you will not be requested copies of standard repertoire. Send the requested copies only to the office in New York.


Q: And if I have requested the services of the official competition piano accompanist?

A: In this case, you will be required to send copy of your music scores to the accompanist far in advance, at the time your application is accepted. The official piano accompanists are former winners of the competition. After mailing make sure to contact the piano accompanist to make sure they have received your music.


Q: What am I expected to do when I check in at the office in Italy?

A: The office hours are from 12 noon to 7 pm. You will be given your final performance and practice schedules along with explanation and map of performance venues, practice facilities and Foundation package hotel and restaurants. You will be given the exact location of the competition office prior to your arrival. If you arrive late you are expected to go directly to your assigned Hotel and check in at the competition office the following day at noon. Guests of B&B will be picked up by the B&B owner at the competition office. Should a B&B guest arrive after office hours, arrangements to meet the owner of the B&B will need to be done in advance. If you have requested airport transportation the driver will take you directly to your accomodation. The driver will be communicating directly with the B&B owner and the competition staff to make the necessary arrangements. If you have rented a car or taking public transportation you will be expected to meet the owner of the B&B at the competition office. If you arrive after office hours please make sure to let the office know in advance so that specific arrangements cna be made. You will be given in advance the name and address of your Hotel choice but you will not be given in advance the name and address of your B&B. B&Bs are private homes and the exact name and location will be disclosed upon check in when you meet the owner. All B&B will be at a walking distance from the competition office performance venues, practice facilities and restaurants.

Q: Am I expected to stay in IBLA throughout the duration of the competition?

A: No, you are not required to attend throughout the duration of the competition. It is recommended that you stay a minimum of 5 nights in order to feel fully immersed in the Competition Festival experience. At the time your application is accepted you are offered specific dates for your performances. After these performances have taken place you are free to depart or stay longer. Great beaches and UNESCO historical sites surround the Ragusa IBLA area should you wish to take a vacation during your stay. Top Prize Winners will be announced on the final day of the competition. The detailed list of results will be published on the Foundation website www.ibla.org weeks following the competition.


Q: Should I wish to stay longer, will I be offered additional performances?

A: If you stay longer you might be offered additional performances upon Jury approval. This is done in order to offer you further performance experience. The general performance experience that you will gain during your stay at the IBLA GRAND PRIZE Competition and the related ability to handle stress will result in an extremely valuable knowledge and understanding of your own art of performing.

Q: I have one more question about public performances. Is it also competition? First public performance is like first elimination round, 2nd performance is like second elimination round...? If I do not play well on the 1st public performance, can I play a 2nd public performance?

A: No, there is no elimination rounds. You are given the opportunity to perform several times and the final score will reflect the average  score of all your performances. All your performances will be scored by the International Jury. All your performances are equally evaluated.

Q: Do you arrange trips to Taormina or Malta?

A: Yes, if you stay longer you may take advantage of the scheduled day trips to Taormina and / or Malta. The trip to Taormina start soon after lunch and includes a visit to the Greek Theater and the main shopping area in the center of Taormina. Transfer time from Ragusa to Taormina is approx. 2 hours each way returning late at night.

On the other hand, the trip to Malta begins very early in the morning with a transfer from Ragusa IBLA to the Port of Pozzallo boarding a 2 hour ship ride to Valletta, Malta. You will be required to obtain an entrance Visa in order to board the ship. NON European residents need to contact the Malta Embassy in advance in order to get a Visa. Once in Malta you will take a walking tour of Valletta. The highlight of the visit are the two priceless Caravaggio paintings, The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist and the Saint Jerome, housed in the co-Cathedral of St. John of the Knights of Malta (this church is a work of art in itself) and the new Renzo Piano designed city walls and entrance.

Q: What if I cannot attend on the scheduled days and time?

A: Each candidate will be offered specific performance days; attendance on those days is mandatory. Candidates who have genuine difficulties with this timetable should inform the competition office immediately stating the reason. Every effort will be made to accommodate schedule changes.


Q: Who teaches the Master Classes?

A: Master Classes are offered by members of the International Jury panel. Jury members will decide amongst themselves who will give the Master Class and when. Very few Master Classes are being offered every year. If interested make sure to ask for it during the application process.


Q: How do you get jury comments?

A: The process of producing transcripts of the international Jury comments on your performance is quite complex as they are translated in English or in Italian from the original handwritten Jury sheets. All comments are given anonymously to guarantee the privacy of each Jury member but thanks to this procedure, they reflect the immediate pure reaction, thoughts and feelings of each jury member. This procedure requires a great deal of organization and translation, and therefore must be requested in advance during the application process.


Q: Should I send certified, registered or express mail to the competition office in New York?

A: In general, please avoid spending money in expensive mail services options. Regular mail will be perfectly fine. We recommend to inform the office via email that a package has been dropped in the mail. The office will wait for it. Ordinary mail gets to New York faster than you might think. Email communication usually solves most of the urgent matters.


Q: What kind of pictures should I email? High resolution?

A: Yes, all high resolution pictures are used for promotional purposes. The better the quality of the picture you send, the better you will be promoting yourself. Market your image the way you deem the best.


Q: Do I need to send you my birth certificate?

A: No, it is not necessary. A copy of your passport, driver license or state issued ID (Identification Card) will suffice. 


Q: Can I send copies of documents, passport, air-ticket, etcetera, via e-mail or should I send them via regular mail?

A: Yes, you may send all documents via email with the exception of music scores for the piano accompanist. The hard copy must be sent directly to the office assigned piano accompanist.

Q: What if I need an official invitation to obtain VISA released by the Italian Embassy?

A: The office will assist you in the process of requesting a VISA. It is a long and complex process therefore we recommend to apply as early as possible. Due to tougher international regulation, at the time of the VISA application, the Foundation becomes the responsible party and the guarantor of your staying: legal statements are made in regard to the legitimacy of your staying and the related financial guarantees. It is mandatory that all applicants requiring a VISA  select the Foundation Package and prepay in advance. Should you fail to do so, the Foundation may formally cancel the VISA request and cancel your participation into the competition. Should the VISA be denied by the Italian Embassy you will qualify for a refund.


Q: What are the advantages of the IBLA Hotel Package?

A: The Foundation is a not for profit organization. The Package is designed to make your stay easier, confortable and financially convenient. The package includes breakfast, and restaurant lunch and dinner. You will be served the same quality menus as the members of the International Jury. Food is excellent! Should any problem arise with the Hotel/ B&B and or restaurants, contact the competition office: the Foundation staff will immediately intervene to resolve any issue. All hotels and restaurant staff included in the package have a longstanding experience in serving IBLA Foundation guests. If you have dietary restrictions please inform the restaurants as they are very accomodating.


Q: Can I pay the Hotel package expenses when I arrive in Italy?

A: No, all payments must be made in advance.


Q: Can you provide pick up at the airports in Catania and Comiso if I arrive very late at night or depart very early in the morning?

A: Yes, we provide this service at anytime if you pay and confirm the reservation in advance.


Q: When I arrive at my hotel, what should I do? .....and for Bed & Breakfast?

A: When you check in at the hotel make sure to have your credit card ready. Although the room and breakfast have been paid for in advance, you need to guarantee the costs of the use of telephone and room amenities (champagne, phone calls, minibar etc.).

B&B will not require your credit card but be aware that do not offer wifi and telephone use. You may take advantage of several internet cafes throughout Ibla.


Q: My parents and friends have expressed interest in joining me during the competition. Could I possibly get the same Foundation Package rate for them?

A: Yes, the Package will be offered to any person or group accompanying you.


Q: Do we pay Euro or Dollars? I get confused between fees and hotel expenses.

A: All fees are in Euros.  All costs and payments for the Hotel Package are in Euro.


Q: Is it best to pay by bank transfer or credit card?

A: The Foundation recommends bank transfer. All bank related fees, both sender and receiver are your responsibility. Make sure that the Foundation receives the indicated amount clear of any fee. You will be requested to make the additional payment for any missing amount.  If you choose to pay via credit card, you will be billed additional 10% for credit card handling fees and international exchange fee.  


Q: What if I choose not to be part of the Foundation package?

A: If you are requesting a Visa, you are expected to be part of the package. If you are playing with a competition piano accompanist you are also expected to be part of the package in order to book all the rehearsals. In general, if you make any use of pianos you are better off being part of the package as it would be more expensive for you to make your own instrument rental arrangements. However, should you choose not to be part of the package, You will be required to submit details of your piano rental arrangements to the Foundation office before any confirmation. You must also get office approval first before purchasing any ticket or making any hotel reservations. Reasons for not accepting one’s own arrangements include but are not limited to viable assessment of practice arrangements, local transportation, location of chosen residence in reference to the competition events. Should the office not approve your arrangements, your participation will be cancelled. The Foundation declines any responsibility for any financial consequence due to cancellation of previously accepted applicants.


Q: If I am not part of the Foundation package, when will I be able to practice?

A: Practice availability is a serious matter/problem: it has to be planned in advance in all its details. If you are not part of the package it is very important for you to plan ahead and share your practice plan with the Foundation office. You are expected to make along with your own accommodation arrangements your own practice arrangements and share the details of your practice plan with the office in New York. The plan should include the location, address and contact name of where you will be practicing and the phone number where the office can reach you during your practice for any urgent matter. In all circumstances the practice organization plan must be submitted and approved by the Foundation office in New York, in advance. Failing in doing so will result in cancellation from the competition.


Q: What if my performance does not include the use of a piano?

A: In this case you are free to make your own arrangements. However you are still required to get office approval before confirming any reservation and making any payment.

Q: Will I be able to try the competition piano?

A: Yes. Every contestant will have ten minutes to try the competition pianos. It will be scheduled when you check in at the competition office.

Q: When will I know the time I will perform?

A: Performances take place all day long from 12 noon until after midnight. A daily time schedule will be published at the competition office.


Q: What time is the public concert in the evening?

A: The public concert occurs usually between 19.00 pm and midnight. Please be ready to perform appropriately dressed, evening gowns and tuxedos. Younger contestants will perform first, all others will perform afterwards.


Q: What is the dress code?

A: You are expected to wear evening elegant concert attire at all times when you perform whether morning, afternoon or evening. A professional stage presentation is expected always. Male performers should wear at all times possible black tie tuxedo and ladies long evening dress. You should look the way you would as winners performing at Carnegie Hall in New York. Your look will be considered part of your professional presentation.


Q: Is it necessary for me to perform for the evening  public concerts?

A: Yes. All IBLA performances are important as they are all attended by Jury Members. Do not underestimate the importance of any performance. Your professional behavior and ability to handle stress is at all times evaluated and unprofessional performances and conduct will effect one's general score.


Q: How long should I play on each public performance?

A: The duration is different day to day. The competition office will indicate the exact duration before the concerts begin.


Q: Can I ask jury members for comments about my performance?

A: Candidates are reminded that it is not permissible to approach jury members and ask an evaluation of
their performance throughout the duration of the competition. Furthermore, Jury members are required to declare if they have any professional or personal relation with any of the candidates as they will not vote in such circumstances. Candidates may request in advance transcripts of Jury comments.


Q: What if I feel I have not received a fair treatment according to the competition rules?

A: Any objections regarding competition procedures must be submitted to the President of the Foundation, in writing, within three hours of any incident. A triumvirate will be invited from the jury to join the president in the processing of any objections; the decision of this group will be final.

Q: If I don't stay until the end of the competition, how will I find out the results?

A: General results of the competition will be announced at the final concert. If you are not present, you can obtain results through the website www.ibla.org in the weeks following the competition


Q: If I win, what do I win?

A: The IBLA Foundation raises funds annually for the organization of IBLA winners presentation concerts in prestigious institutions such as Carnegie Weill Hall in New York City among other venues. IBLA Winners are divided in Top Prize Winners and Special Award Recipients (who may be invited upon discretion of the Board of Directors of the IBLA Foundation). Top Prize Winners get expenses paid for these events while musicians with lower scores may get partial funding. No cash awards.According to your level of professional experience, you may be invited to be part of the International Jury Panel.


Q: How do I get information about the IBLA Winners and all IBLA related international activities after the competition?

A: Please, visit our web site frequently www.ibla.org you will find a constantly updated list of UPCOMING EVENTS or contact our New York Office iblanewyork@gmail.com phone (212) 387-0111


Q: What should I do if I wish to contribute to the activities of the Foundation, whether I win or loose?

A: Your support to the activities of the Foundation will be highly appreciated. The most important support you can offer is helping in organizing concert for the winners in various parts of the world. Should you have the possibility or if you are close to people that can organize concerts please do not hesitate to come up with a proposal.




Feedback letters and comments

from past competitors




Dear Salvatore and IBLA Foundation,

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to you and IBLA foundation. The experience and journey I had obtained to compete for 2014 Bartok-Kabalevsky-Prokofiev Competition and 2014 IBLA Grand Prize Competition concurrently was PRICELESS. And yet, receiving an award as 1 prize winner and Most Distinguished Winner respectively on both competitions have blown me away. I was thrilled when I found out that I was the 1st prize winner of Bartok on the IBLA webpage.   This competition was so personal to me and battle against myself for self-discovery. Reshaping back from a big seizing period was difficult for me along with aging, however, IBLA made it possible by giving me lots of performing opportunities and friendly atmospheres at the competition. Thank you so much for letting me get upgraded on my maturity in music through the competition. I truly appreciate it. IBLA have truly inspired me even more after the journey back.  Now, I am excited for venues to come in 2015 in New York at Carnegie Weill Hall and NYU and other cities. I would like to share some news with you. My personal story was covered on local headline news of San Diego Union-Tribune on Oct.1. It was about my suffering to revival and a final result of the win at the competition along with the publicity of IBLA competition. Please find the link I copied below.

Again, Thank you all for bringing my confidence up through this journey and have a great autumn!

Chohyun Park






Dear Mr.Yasenak and Dr.Moltisanti,


Thank you much for this wonderful opportunity to be the part of a beautiful event in Ibla! It was a great pleasure to be there and to play for the Jury and Ibla people.

Since we left earlier, we don’t know the results of the competition. When would it be possible to find out the results?
Thank you!

Larisa and Vitali




Dear Anna

I hope you had a good journey back home. I wanted to thank you again for this week spent with you as my accompanist. I have much appreciated the way you play and also always take care of the singer, respect the voice and the breathe, and even recover from errors he can make while singing.

Kind regards 




Dear Dr. Moltisanti,

We had a wonderful time at Ibla. Special thanks to Shannon and her administrative team who patiently answered all our questions and were always at hand to help ... even making arrangements for us to go to the beach! A big thank you to Mr. Yasenak who never failed to respond to my emails throughout the application process. Rhys enjoyed all the performance opportunities and loved meeting so many talented musicians. It was a great experience for him. Everything was very laid back and it felt more like we were attending a series of lovely concerts rather than a competition. Thank you for giving him the opportunity to participate. He is still talking about it!

Best Wishes,



Dear Ibla organization,


we've had the most wonderful time in Ibla and have enjoyed so much participating in the competition! So many beautiful memories, it was really a great experience. Now we were wondering a bit about the jury transcripts...do yo know already by when the transcripts will be ready? And are they being emailed, or doesn't it work that way? We also saw a few of them published at the website, so we were just curious what to expect. Thanks for your response,

Best regards,

Annette Scholten & Nanke Flach



Dear Sirs! 

I want to thank you for your competition remarkable in all respects! 

As my eight-year-old daughter (Tsvetova Sofia) noticed, those were the best days of her life!

From Russia with love!

Artos, father of Sofia


Dear Salvatore,

Another wonderful turnout for your event last night.  Looking forward to more successful concerts at Weill Recital Hall!
Elaine L. Georges
Director, Booking
Carnegie Hall


Dear Salvatore and Michael,

I simply want to thank you for including me in such a fascinating, stimulating, beautiful and interesting evening. I loved the variety of musicians, instruments and music and it was really hard to choose one over the others. I was so flattered to be seated next to the famous Tommy Tune. I was charmed. Just a marvelous, memorable evening. Thank you so much and congratulations on your good work.
See you soon and all the best and much love,


Dear Dr. Moltisanti,

I wanted to thank you again for the opportunity to participate in the IBLA concerts New York last week, and for all you did to make the events possible. It was a pleasure and honor to meet you and the good people of the Foundation, and to share my work under your auspices.  To appear on stage with such great fellow young artists was equally a delight.  Thank you for what you are doing for us creators and performers in the establishment of our careers.  My wife and I had an excellent time and hope our paths cross again soon. I will keep you posted on my activities and it would absolutely be an honor to serve on the jury panel in the future. It was an honor to make the acquaintance of an artist of your caliber and your generosity to promote artists on-the-rise is superlative.


Dear Michael,

Thank You again for the tickets. We enjoyed the Award/Gala event immensely. The  performance was absolutely impeccable! Also, it was a pleasure to see Dr. Salvatore Moltisanti with his charm & wit, he has such a charisma, so magical. Thank You again,
Kristina & Noah 


Dear Dr.Moltisanti,

just got home to Swizterland!
I wanted to say thank you again! We had such a fantastic time at New York, really enjoyed to perform at the IBLA concets!
It was a huge honor, thank you so much for everything again!
Hope to see you soon!
Best wishes,


Dear Salvatore and Michael,

I just wanted to thank you for giving me the opportunity to play in the USA. Tried looking for you after the last performance at the Casa Italiana but we couldn't find you to say bye. Thank you for all your hard work - it is truly appreciated! 



Dear Dr.Moltisanti,

Thank you very much for having given me a fantastic opportunity to attend IBLA Grand Prize.
I would like to express my deep gratitude for your support at the  evening concerts ,masterclass and competition which will be most valuable for me to make me grow.
I also thank you for a wonderful opportunity to appear for a TV program.
I am really honored to receive Most distinguished Young talent special mention.
It would be great if you send me general results of the competition and my score.
I understand the Jury comments will be August . I would like to express my appreciation for your taking care of this matter. I look forward to hearing from you.
Again I am very grateful to you.
Raika Tetsu


Dear Dr. Moltisanti,

Gentile Salvatore,
Volevo ringraziarla per averci dato l'opportunita' di conoscere l'Ibla Grand Prize.
E' stata un'esperienza bellissima.
Le mie figlie hanno vissuto dei momenti magici, molti ricchi sia dal punto di vista musicale che umano.
Grazie ancora
Un cordiale salute
Federica Spinetta


Hello, dear Mr. Moltisanti,

Three weeks separate us from the remarkable events that happened in our lives this summer. Because of the competition and your efforts we were able to learn a lot of new and interesting things. Memories of the organizers of the friendliest and your love of life warm our hearts. A trip to you for the competition in Ragusa has left a deep imprint on our souls.  I'd like to come again and again to experience the atmosphere of music, friendship and mutual understanding. Dear Mr. Moltisanti, we can not wait to read the comments of the distinguished jury. We will be very grateful for the opportunity to read them soon. 

Sincerely SAPOZHNIKOV Tatiana and Daniel, as well as Andrew Zappa (dad.)



Dear Dr. Moltisanti


Thank you doesn’t seem enough for your tireless dedication. The IBLA competition has made dreams come true for over 20 years now, and that is just simply amazing!!!

I hope you are well rested and ready for the competition in July. It must seems so soon to be doing it all over again; what a marvelous tribute to your love of music. I have just found the concert video from casa italiana, on Youtube, because the whole tour and NY performances seem like a dream and I hadn’t seen it on screen. I would swear it hadn’t happed. What an amazing group of musicians, everyone really liked each other and had a good time being in “the band on tour”, we felt like Rock Stars, LOL. Mr. Banks and Dr. Storeygard were terrific and took good care us, especially with all the crazy flights and baggage drama. You are so right ablout people not knowing America until they experience the good people of small town, USA. I was so proud of the way my fellow countrymen treated everyone, everywhere we went. I want you to know how incredibly grateful I’m to you, for giving me sach an amazing opportunity. I had almost given up on doing anything with this voice, after all the obstacles and missed opportunities, I figured it was over. IBLA was my last chance to prove, to myself, I could sing, it was a “do or let it die” situation.

 I just want to THANK YOU from the bottom of my soul…!!!!  I have now fulfilled A dream…and it is never too late to try…  “It ain’t over till……..”

All Of My Love,





Dear Salvatore,

Congratulations.. What a thrilling night!!!! So many deserved the prize-- how can I find out more about the performers— incredible  accordionist, pianists---singers--
The dinner at LE CIRQUE: so well organized.. You were fabulous on the stage.. great presence.. great looks-and humour- IN CONTROL!! so much work must have gone into this one fabulous night.. more of these type of first class concerts should be produced by you!!!You must be exhausted---

Much love to you and Michael


(the legendary Monique Van Vooren)




Dear Dr Salvatore,

Thank you so much for the fantastic opportunity to perform in Carnegie Hall, again.
I feel so blessed to have been included in this year's program.  Your support of my music is affirming and I really appreciate that.  The multi-ethnic community you and Ibla Foundation have created is a glorious thing.  I would like to maintain a connection as a foundation member, juror, accompanist or serve in some type of capacity. Thanks again for your support and for giving me another opportunity to perform with Ibla Foundation.  The mission of the organization is truly admirable and I'm grateful to have been a part of it.
All the Best,





Dear Dr. Moltisanti, 

We are all thrilled with the results as you can imagine. The concert was a huge success! Nicely done! We got only remarkable compliments and all the musicians did very well. What an accomplishment! We are very happy and very proud of Ian. Thank you very much for allowing him to shine at Carnegie Hall. We enjoyed ourselves at the Gala dinner. Thank you for inviting Ian. 

Thank you again! And Enjoy hopefully, a peaceful weekend! 





Hi, Ibla Central:


The Elon University IBLA team played spectacularly tonight at Whitley Auditorium.  It was a small audience, but important:  some key faculty, quite a few students, and important community members.  The wife of the president of Elon University was there and said it was the best concert she ever heard. A future Ibla concert would have a buzz to precede it. They WERE fabulous, all of them.  And I think they enjoyed it.  Salvatore, you haven't seen our recital hall, or heard the beautiful  the piano there---it is quite a wonderful, small recital space. If this IBLA team plays and sings like they did tonight in Carnegie Hall you will be very proud indeed.  Salvatore, let's chat after you  come up for breath! Thank you for sending these wonderful young musicians to us.  


Love and thanks,  





Dear Dr Salvatore, Michael & the IBLA Foundation,

Hello! I hope you are all very well. I'm writing to say THANK YOU so so much for having me at IBLA competition this summer. It was the most special and wonderful experience for me. I'm also so grateful to you for having me to stay in your magnificent villa (And with the Madonna!), despite of me making a mess by arriving 4 days too early! You are incredibly kind people and I will always remember you. I wish you all the best of luck with music and life. With my affection and gratitude,




Dear Contestant’s Father,

I had a look af Douglas' pieces yesterday and it seems fine to me for the competition. I just want to share some of of my thoughts with you regarding the competition. Douglas is still very young. I know from young contestants from earlier editions that the competition is quite an experience. With respect to that, I think that it is best to set up a program that makes him feel as comfortable as possible to play for an audience, preferably compositions with which he has already experience in performing. At this age it is very important to realize that the experience of participation is endless more valuable than winning. Performing pieces in which he feels comfortable on stage will contribute to that experience in a positive way; besides I think that it will get the best out of him. If you ask me, the program consist almost entirely of 'fast' repertoire. Considering what I said above, if that's the program he'll play in the most comfortable way, it is good. If you request for jury comments, I would advise to take something 'slow' (more lyrical) as well/instead, because then he can get comments in the full spectrum of violin playing. It's just something to consider: feeling free on stage is most important. For the accompaniment it is all fine with me. I guess that the Italian anthem is meant for playing in piazza concerts, isn't it? That's a lovely choice. I hope that my opinion is helpful to you. Once again, the program is good, I'm just sharing some of my thoughts. I'm looking forward to work with Douglas. Don't hesitate to contact me for any questions. 

Best regards,

Gwylim (piano accompanist and juror)



Dear Sirs,


First of all, I want to say what a wonderful and profound experience my son, Chris  had this summer participating in the IBLA Grand Prize.  We were very proud and happy with his results.  We also fell in love with Sicily! I recently saw the 2012 results on your website.  We seem to be missing one of his certificates.  We would love to have that for his resume and portfolio. Thank you so much.  Your help is greatly appreciated!




Dear Dr Moltisanti,

Thank you for your hard work to have made the 2012 Ibla competition possible. It was a very special and memorable event and we are very grateful for the opportunities that you create. We thoroughly enjoyed the stay in Sicily and will treasure the good memories. We are looking forward to see you again in New York. It will be such a privilege to perform in Carnegie Hall! Thank you also for the lovely party at your villa after the final concert. We appreciate it.

With best wishes and regards,

Anzel and Ben



Hello Dearest, Dr. Moltisanti

Thank You so much for the opportunity you have provided, to all of us.  Doing the Grand Prize Competition in such a beautiful, historic, far a way place was a dream come true, not only for me but those who lived vicariouslly through me those 10 days.   I had a great time and met a lot of wonderful musicians, who I will keep in touch with always, and hope to see but especially hear again, in the future.   I will work very hard on improving this voice with the suggestions below, which I truly appreciate having. I hope the the rest of the year will be as exciting for everyone as this summer has been for me.  I look forward to seeing you and all the staff again in the future.  Thank You again for all you do.

Best Wishes,


Dear Mr Yasenak,
I would like to express my great appreciation for how amazing you are in organizing this competition and  taking care of all big and small matters for us, it really makes the whole competition preparation alot smoother and it makes me feel so safe and confident about going all the way to Italy. I really appreciate from the bottom of my heart, all the efforts you make, from your very detailed and prompt reply to your relentless patience in offering help to all of us.
Thank you,
Bo Ling



Dear Dr. Moltisanti, Dear Mr. Yasenak,

I hope you are both well. I've just received CDs and DVDs from Virginia that Shannon had sent me and remembered the great time I had in USA. I wanted to thank you once again for this wonderful opportunity, hospitality and experience I had during my stay in America. In these two weeks I met and got to know better some amazing people, had a rich and diverse concert experience and played for remarkable and very grateful audience...It was not always tralala, as you can imagine that flying with cello and going through security at the airport (although 1/100000 times you get upgraded to business class) is mostly a patience training better than any oriental practice, but all this made me feel very strong about my next projects. And I am very grateful for this lesson. I hope that I will see you next summer in IBLA and wish you a nice and interesting competition this year.

All the best,




Dear Dr. Moltisanti,

I'm writing to express my thanks and gratitude for the opportunity to
perform at Carnegie Hall and on the Ibla Winners Tour. The musicians and
other individuals met throughout the experience were all topnotch. The
organization provided leadership that met or exceeded expectations based
on other tours. Over the course of the Arkansas trip I began to realize a
larger role for me in mentoring younger musicians. My leadership skills
went into effect when venues were not sufficiently prepared for
performance. Most importantly, Jazz, and the history thereof, is a
ministry to me. Bringing my message to the deep south emphasized a calling
within myself that empowers and affirms others.

Thanks again for your leadership and support!
All the Best,



Dear Ekaterina (soprano),

Thank you for your email. I'm looking forward to work with you. You don't have to be nervous or uncertain about your application. I know this feeling of uncertainty very well, but trust me if I say that Ibla Grand Prize is a nice competition to experience. Every contestant in Ibla Grand Prize will be judged separately; you're not directly compared to other musicians. Besides you'll definitely like the environment, the weather and the food, so be relaxed and enjoy :) Although I must say that I don't know the composers Varlamov and Nin, I think your program is a good choice. As I can say from my own experience in competitions: choose the pieces in which you feel as most comfortable as possible. I'll try to have a better look on your program by the end of this week. Which pieces do you intend to perform in the public performances? They should be exciting and make sure you love to perform those pieces. That works best. About the amount of pieces; 5 seems enough to me. Contestants sometimes try to sing as much as possible within the time frame, or as many different styles as possible. I think you rather choose a program which feels good for you and enables you to perform it well (too many pieces don't).

Best regards,




Dear Dr. Moltisanti,


First of all, we would like to thank you for the great organization of the IBLA Grand Prize Competition 2011. We had a great time during our stay and had a wonderful experience. It was a pleasure for us to participate in the competition for the first time successfully.

Our Mongolian Government and the Music and Dance College award the participants who have successfully participated in international music competitions. Our participant Chimed-Ochir Yesunkhand was awarded in the Outstanding Musicians winners. As we can see on your website that the winners are not ranked as first and second places. But we are wondering if you could give us a little more explanation about how we can understand the Outstanding Musicians winners.

Sincerely yours,

Mongolian Pianist Teachers Association

Ch. Tungalag



Dear Mr. Yasenak, dear Dr.Moltisanti,

I came back to Tbilisi and still thinking of Ibla. I want to thank you for everything and for the warmth that I felt. It was an amazing Ibla time, so interesting to meet so many people and play with them, also so many nice people who stayed with us, all the staff and the various  participants.. I felt so lonely when I set in the bus which took me to the airport. I will miss you a lot. Thank you again.
Best wishes
much love



Dear  Dr. Salvatore,

I have now returned home to the USA. I want to let you know how much I enjoyed my stay in Ibla-Ragusa, the competition, and the couple of days following when I had time to sight-see in Taormina and go to the Ragusa Beach. The final Gala at Villa Criscione was delightful and an absolutely beautiful setting. My accommodation was perfect- if I return next year, I would like to reserve the same B&B Casetta! The food and wine was outstanding and plentiful. Somehow, I still managed to lose some weight- given all the walking up and down the hills of Ragusa! Most of all, the people from IBLA Ragusa, and everyone associated with the competition, including the participants, were a delight to meet and get to know. This was not only a great musical exchange but also a marvelous opportunity to make new friends from around the world.

I also must thank you again for going out of your way to track down my "lost cellphone"- on Saturday morning I had been using it in the piano practice room as a stop watch to time my pieces and figure out the "three minutes" of my best music. It was my fault for simply leaving it there on the right side of the keyboard, and I didn't realize it was gone until I had arrived at the beach on Saturday afternoon and had no way to get back until the evening. I do not know how I could have coordinated my safe travel home without it, and it is a miracle you were able to locate it and get it back for me, after it had been locked up in the piano and moved to a new location more than two hours away!

Thank you.




Dear Dr. Moltisanti,
On behalf of Trio del Mar, I want to thank you for the enormous effort that you and your staff of volunteers make to ensure the success of the Ibla Grand Prize. Marjorie, Marti, and I had a wonderful time. We loved Francesca's apartment (B&B) and we enjoyed greatly listening to performances and getting acquainted with other players. Once we had "trained" the staff at the restaurants regarding Marjorie's vegan needs, we also appreciated the food very much. I want to particularly mention the great tact with which you dealt with the various crises that people experienced throughout the ten days of the competition. Because IBLA Grand Prize accepts players of all ages and stages, it is obviously sometimes very complicated to satisfy everyone, but you consistently worked to make certain that any necessary compromises were acceptable to everyone involved.

Hats off to you! And of course, the contestants run the gamut from experienced world travelers to those first-timers out of their own countries. That can really complicate things, but you handled all issues calmly and confidently. Bravo! Marjorie and Marti left this morning for the US, while I await the arrival tomorrow of my daughter and two granddaughters; we will travel in Italy for another 2-1/2 weeks.
Again, many thanks for a wonderful experience.

Mary Kay




Dear Sir Moltisanti,

I would like to thank you very much for one of the most exciting experience in my life. This competition was a great adventure for me, I am glad that I had a possibility to met so much awesome people.I would like to ask about final results of Ibla Grand Prize. When It will be announced? I look forward to hearing from you,

Yours faithfully,




Dr. Moltisanti,

non avendo avuto la possibilità di salutarla e di ringraziarla personalmente, domenica sera 11 Luglio al termine del Concerto per l'Africa, mi permetto di inviarle questa  e-mail  per esprimerle la mia sincera gratitudine per avermi dato la possibilità di assistere ad esecuzioni musicali di alta qualità, sia tecnica che interpretativa, donandomi così 12 giorni di emozioni indescrivibili che difficilmente potrò dimenticare.

Un grazie sincero , anche a nome di mia moglie, per averci invitati al Concerto finale a Villa Criscione, coronando così la nostra permanenza fra grande musica e lo splendore barocco di ogni angolo della sua meravigliosa Ibla.

A Lei, caro Maestro, vivissimi complimenti perchè con la sua costante ed appassionata attività artistica , fa conoscere ed apprezzare al mondo intero, sempre nuovi talenti musicali  e le bellezze della sua amatissima terra.

Con l'augurio che Lei possa continuare questa sua proficua opera, ancora per molti anni, Le porgo i più distinti saluti.





Dear Dr. Salvatore, Michael and all members of IBLA Foundation,

I just finally got back to the UK after short stay in the accordion factory in the northern Italy and I have Internet at last. Definitely I want to say a big thank you to everyone from IBLA Foundation for all the cooperation before and during the competition. I have been to many competitions in my life and indeed your competition was amazing and had something special. Really nice atmosphere, lovely people (big thanks to Maciej and Wojtek for their work), great food and etc - exactly like you described things in the welcome package. I really wish I could had stayed little bit longer but had an important things to do with my accordion and that was the only time it could have been done. Looking forward to getting the results. Hope to see you again in future,

best wishes,




Dear Dr.Salvatore Moltisanti

It was such a GREAT experience to attend IBLA.

I have been wonderful time there. As well as thank you very much for giving me wonderful opportunities such as performing, master class and awards. I really appreciate what you´ve done for me, Hope you keep healthy and having a wonderful summer!!!!

Again, Thank you very much!




Dear Mr. Yasenak,
I received the attached jury comments. Thank you very much. We enjoyed the entire experience very much and would certainly recommend it to any other aspiring musicians - young or old!

Mary Kay



Gent.mo M° Moltisanti,

Michelle ieri è tornata a casa, stanca morta, ma entusiasta!!! Ha trovato un ambiente stimolante, un concorso fortemente innovativo, organizzato per dare ai concorrenti anche la possibilità di suonare varie volte davanti ad un pubblico, cosa importantissima e parimenti trascurata nella moltitudine delle competizioni. Mi ha parlato di una location eccezionale, ha conosciuto moltissime persone, raccontato anedotti simpaticissimi, ha avuto la possibilità di studiare. Al di là del risultato, è stata sicuramente un'esperienza formativa, sotto tutti gli aspetti, non ultimo quello umano. Grazie di tutto.

Gianni e Gianfranca


Dear Dr. Moltisanti,

 How are you? We hope you are doing great and you are looking back at the IBLA Grand Prize Competition 2008 with great excitement and satisfaction. Hopefully you've had a good journey back to New York. We would like to thank you for the great organization of the IBLA Grand Prize Competition 2008. It has been quite an exciting experience for us. It was not only a good test to play under pressure for the international jury, but it was also a good opportunity to perform for a new public, a public that is mostly not yet used to listen classical music. Although the competition was as intense as a competition should be, we also had a lot of fun while playing, both for the jury as well as in the piazza. Hence, it was a great feeling for us to receive the Ravel-Award! It was a real pleasure to be in the nice environment of Ragusa-Ibla (a bit caldo), where we made new friends among

our colleagues. Finally we would also like to thank the various volunteers that did a great job in helping us with everything! Back in the Netherlands, we already noticed the advantages of being awarded the Ravel-Award in this competition.

Both local media as well as the embassy in Rome contacted us, which may be truly helpful in our future carrier. Summarizing: thank you very much for everything, and we hope to see you soon again; best regards from the Netherlands,

Lestari & Gwylim


Dear Dr. Moltisanti,

Congratulations for wonderful organization of 2008. Ibla Grand Prize competition in Ragusa !!! I spent great time, and had wonderful experience, that will be very useful for my future development as musician. I would like to ask if there is any possibility to find out the results of competition, since I did not have opportunity to stay until the end of competition.

One more time, Congratulations for excellent job, and best wishes for all future plans.

Yours faithfully

Julija Bal



Dear Dr. Moltisanti, 

I want to thank you for your beautiful festival Grand Prize you have done. Owing this festival I begin to grow up in my musik skill. You have perfect organisation and very nice colorful place in Sicilia. I fell very comfortable there. And about people. There were so kind and friendly that I thought they were my good friends. I want also to thank Alessio individually for his professional approach to our work. Say him please that he is the perfect pianist and accompanist. All the best for your health and happiness.

Thank you again and I hope that I will see you again in Ragusa Ibla. 
Best wishes.



Dear Dr. Moltisanti,

I would like to thank You once again for Your kindest invitation to perform at 2008 IBLA Grand Prize Competition during this summer, which was greatest pleasure for me. I was very honored to participate such a beautiful and interesting musical event and wishing You best success! I just saw draft published in the website and I did't find record Special Mention for Strauss/Schultz-Evler Transcription which appear in my Certificate, please kindly find attached herewith the Certificate copy. Looking forward to hearing from You soon; may I thank You in advance for Your kind and favorable reply.

With due respect,

Dmytro Vynohradov


Dear Mr.Yasenak,

I hope you are enjoying your summer. I am one of the participants of the 2008 IBLA competition, and did not receive my diploma or jury comments (I forgot) at IBLA. I was wondering whether I could have them mailed to me - I would be happy to cover shipping costs. Thank you.


Akiko Kobayashi


Dear Sirs,

After the  Competition IBLA Grand Prize 2008 has been finished,  I would like to thank you for your hospitality and give complimentes for good organization.For me it was great experience and special I am very satisfied with the prize i got. I'll be more than glad if you invite me to play in New York City  2009.

Kind Regards,




Dear Dr. Moltisanti,
I already miss Ibla!  This was my first time in a competition. I can see now that I should have focused on fewer pieces and have them better  prepared technically! At least this was a great learning experience and I hope I´ll grow and do better next time I do something like this. I should, therefore, also have had the outprint of my jury results. Is it too late for me to get it now? 
Thanks and all the best,



Dear Dr. Moltisanti,

Hello. I really appreciate all of your works. I enjoyed staying in IBLA and everything was fantastic. I just wanted to ask one question since I left ealry from IBLA  so I did not hear the final result of the competition. I thought it was going to be posted in the web site but it is not. It has been 4 days since the conpetition ended so I'm curious about the result

Again, Thank you for the beautiful works in IBLA

Ji Hyun Kim


Hello everybody,

I hope you are already at home and rested.  I already miss Ragusa and everybody from the Ibla Grand Prize. It was a great experience and I will recommend my colleagues to go next year.  I hope I can go, too (if I get the money, of course).  I am back at work, teaching my Summer students here at the University of Iowa.After a couple days of resting I feel renewed and ready to practice hard.  This is going to be a good year. It was my pleasure to meet you and get to be a part of you wonderful program. The city is gorgeous, the people are nice and warm, and the weather was hot but nice. I took some pictures of the concerts in the piazza and some beautiful parts of the city.  Here are they in the attachment.

Thank you for all your help and patience.  I will always remember this marvelous experience. I hope to see you all again,




Hello - Ciao Dr. Moltisanti,

My brothers, John and James and I made it back hom to New Jersey.  I'm sending you an email with heart full of thanks for your kindnesses to us. Our experience was wonderful!  You and Chie are very fine people and weare honored to meet you. 

It is my sincere hope to participate next summer and in the meantime, I look forward to an exciting year of preparation in anticipation.  With all best wishes for your continued success and with kindest regards to Chie

Frances and brothers


Dear Dr. Moltisanti,
We are Kalliopi Emmanuil and Dimitris Stamatelatos.We participated and were among the

'most distinguished musicians' in the IBLA GRAND PRIZE 2008. We would like to thank you very much for this great experience. Taking part in this great event was a delightful moment in our musical life. It was really valuable to us.

We hope to hear from you soon. Thank you.
Yours sincerely,

Kalliopi  and Dimitris


Dear Mr. Yasenak,

Thank you so much! I'm so happy to be one of the Top Winners of your Competition.

As per your instructions I have sent an email to conductor Maestro Gunzenhauser and i will wait for an answer from him. Certainly, I'll contact you in October. Thank you once more.

Yours sincerely,



Dear  Dr. Salvatore Moltisanti,

First of all, I would like to stress, once again, my sincerest respect and appreciation to the great business You do; I was honored to participate in the Competition which has been recommended to me by leading successful musicians and has been found to the best of my expectations as a greatly tailored and uniquely organized event to support not

only the art but the talented artist around the globe.

I consider You being a great Professional in Your business and hoping that You had a chance to evaluate me as an artist of certain level as well. I am sure that transcription Strauss Schultz-Evler and works of Skrjabin performed by me on first and final concerts could be a beautiful addition to any highest level professional program of performance;

Looking forward to Your favorable reply,

With kindest regards 




Dear Dr. Moltisanti,

Thank you very much for the opportunity to perform at the Ibla Grand Prize Competition. It was a wonderful experience. Also, thanks for the pictures of the Villa concert which you posted on the website; it brought back many fond memories.  My graduate adviser at Northwestern, Professor Ursula Oppens, will be very happy to learn that I received a Distinguished Special Mention Award for Rzewski’s Piano Piece #4 – in fact, this piece was written for her and she coached me last year during my preparations.

I wish you all the best with your competition and future concert events.





Dear Dr.  Moltisanti,

We would like to express our deepest gratitude for your wonderful organisation of XVII IBLA Grand Prize 2008, which made the participation of Elin Kolev in the competition in an exciting experience, and the excellent creative ambiance made his artistic meetings with the Italian audience every evening a happy memory for life.
We are looking forward to our next meetings and cooperation.
Sincerely yours,
Elin Kolev and family  


 Dear Dr. Moltisanti,

Having experienced a most wonderful time last summer 2007 in IBLA Ragusa, my husband and I, French Horn duo, are anxiously preparing for next summer 2009.  I have one question for you.  We would like to include in our performance selections two short works by Baroque composers.  Both works are perfect for the Piazza style format with lots  of “fireworks” and “flourishes.”  My question is will there be a harpsichord available for use as accompaniment?

We are looking forward to another wonderful experience next summer. 

Thank you

Mark Sheldon and Gigi Tree



Dear Salvatore,

Thank you so much for the lovely opportunity of participation in the Ibla Competition, as a jurist. The talent was quite impressive and I would like to recommend a few members of the competition to be soloists with the LSO. (Lancaster Symphony Orchestra)

Can you send contact information for: Gayane Gasparyan-pianist, Hee Young Lim-cellist

Letizia Munoz Moreno –violinist. Your volunteer staff is remarkable. It is the attitude of the volunteers that provides a memorable situation for everyone. We left Monday and spent two great days in Catania-visiting Taormina and then Mount Etna. It was INCREDIBLE to see.

We arrived home yesterday, and I hope that you are having a bit of relaxation now.


Stephen Gunzenhauser

Music Director

Lancaster Symphony




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