Tchaikovsky Competition winners: career guaranteed

The Voice of Russia

By Natalya Victorova

Some 600 young musicians have applied for participation in the 14th International Tchaikovsky Competition that is due to be opened in Moscow and St. Petersburg in June. This year’s program includes representatives from 47 countries - a record figure for this contest.

The International Tchaikovsky Competition, which is sometimes referred to as “one of the crown jewels of Russian culture”, is part of Russia’s rich national heritage. Since the very first time it was held in Moscow in 1958, the Tchaikovsky Competition won the fame as one of the world’s most prestigious musical contests. Its traditions were established by truly great musicians, such as Dmitry Shostakovich, Maria Callas, David Oistrakh, Mstislav Rostropovich and others. Those were people who had a keen scent for ingenious personalities hiding inside young musicians. Over its history, the Tchaikovsky Competition discovered many really gifted musicians, who later formed the global musical elite.

Having considerably lost its authority within the last few years, the contest nevertheless managed to retain its unparalleled character as the only musical competition held in four disciplines simultaneously: piano, violin, cello and voice. Grievances addressed to the Tchaikovsky Competition are no different from those brought against other contests of this kind, claiming that the winners are always jury members’ students; that foreign sponsors promote their interests when distributing prizes and that concert opportunities offered to the winners are insufficient to start an international career. The upcoming competition is determined to shore up its reputation and there is every reason to believe that things will turn out well, especially given that reigns of power are now in the hands of renowned conductor Valery Gergiyev. He said the following when appointed to chair the contest’s new organizing committee:

"Relying on the positive experience of all the previous Tchaikovsky competitions in the context of both Russian and global culture, we will, above all, have to ensure the most transparent and fair conditions for the award panel. And its members, in their turn, will promote the contest to the highest possible level," maestro Gergiyev said.

Apart from a jury comprised of concert musicians only this year’s Tchaikovsky Competition will amend its program to so that young talents can be provided with equal opportunities to demonstrate their personality and skills. The program will now include one more point - performances with a chamber orchestra.

Winners of the 14th International Tchaikovsky Competition will be unveiled on July 2nd, 2011. They will sign a contract with the world’s leading international concert agencies, such as the Moscow State Philharmonic Society, British “Intermusica” and America’s “Opus 3 Artists”. Valery Gergiev thus commented on their future:

"It is not about the gold, silver or bronze medals - the future Tchaikovsky competition winners will be granted an opportunity to perform at the world’s main music stages and halls. Some five or six leading orchestras have already been informed that the contest’s gold medalists will have joint performances with me," Valery Gergiyev told our correspondent.