LSM Newswire

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Major Changes Announced by Russian Ministry of Culture for XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition in 2011

MOSCOW, RUSSIA―Maestro Valery Gergiev, the recently appointed Chairman of the XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition by the Russian Minister of Culture, Alexander Avdeev, accepted the position with a mission to elevate the competition to the level of prestige it enjoyed in past decades. The event, to be held June 14–July 2, 2011, will be bound by a new set of rules, regulations and a voting system designed to assure fairness, openness and transparency. To maintain the highest standards of integrity, Maestro Gergiev, the Artistic and General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre and Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, is assembling four juries composed of performers of world-renowned stature.

 “From the beginning, the Tchaikovsky Competition inspired me with awe, when, as a child, names soon to become legendary―Van Cliburn, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Grigory Sokolov―were blossoming on the Moscow stage.  The competitions also served as a gathering of a spectacular array of the greatest musicians of their day―Dmitri Shostakovitch, Emil Gilels, Sviatoslav Richter, Aram Khachaturian.  Today we are inviting my colleagues, the world’s most celebrated performing artists, to join together in helping us discover a new generation of brilliant young talents.  We will all do our very best to ensure that the XIV Competition serve as a milestone in the illustrious history of this great event,” Gergiev said.

The new Organizing Committee under Maestro Gergiev consists of such influential individuals as co-chairpersons Avdeev and Liudmila Shvetsova, the First Deputy of the Mayor of Moscow;  Yuri Laptev, Councilor of the President of Russia; Sergey Khudiakov, Head of the Cultural Department of Moscow; Konstantin Ernst, General Manager of the  First TV Channel; Rodion Schedrin, composer; Denis Matsuev, pianist and member of the President’s Cultural Council and Alexei Shalashov, Head of the Ministry’s Department of Contemporary Art and International Cultural Relations. Also appointed as Senior Advisor to the Organizing Committee and Chairman of the Working Committee is Richard Rodzinski, President Emeritus of the Van Cliburn Foundation.

Many of the recently approved rules and conditions are designed to conform to those adopted by the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.  “There is no more important attribute a competition may enjoy than a reputation for being crystal-clean,” said Rodzinski. “The Tchaikovsky Competition, one of Russia’s great cultural icons, deserves to be restored to a position of international prominence and recognition.”

For the first time in its history, and in keeping with practices encouraged by the World Federation of International Music Competitions, the Tchaikovsky Competition will organize prestigious concert engagements for its laureates both in Russia and abroad. Maestro Gergiev has announced that he plans to engage the winners to perform with the Mariinsky Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra. 

Russians can look forward to Cliburn’s return to Moscow as an Honorary Chairman, and to a host of other internationally acclaimed musicians selected by Maestro Gergiev for the jury.  Cliburn said of this distinction:

“When the Minister of Culture, Alexander Avdeev, graciously invited me to serve as honorary chairman of the piano division of the Fourteenth International Tchaikovsky Competition, I was very touched and I am deeply honoured to accept. The great Valery Gergiev, my friend and chairman of the competition, and his distinguished colleagues of the Organizing Committee are blending their talents, wisdom, inspiration and commitment to one of the crown jewels of Russia's cultural crown: the world famous Tchaikovsky International Competition for Piano, Violin, Cello and Voice. The enormous wealth of Tchaikovsky’s immortal masterpieces written for each of those instruments will again be heard in their glory by young musicians from all over the world, beginning in June 2011 in the beautiful city of Moscow. This competition is not only a fitting memorial to the world beloved Tchaikovsky but also a tribute to the exalted position in which classical music is held in the hearts and minds of the great Russian people.”

The Competition unveiled its preliminary website (, which includes the application form, repertoire requirements, rules and general information. The appearance of the International Tchaikovsky Competition, unchanged since 1958, will be newly designed by internationally recognized graphic design firm Chermayeff & Geismar in New York.  They are especially noted for creating symbols and logotypes for hundreds of companies, including Mobil Corp., Chase Manhattan Bank and National Geographic. Also for the first time in its history, the Tchaikovsky Competition is undertaking a major international public relations and advertising campaign to support its new initiatives.

The deadline for all applications and submission of a DVD of a 50-minute recital will be December 1, 2010. An international screening jury will review all materials and propose to select 30 pianists, 25 violinists, 25 cellists, and 20 male and 20 female singers. The names of the selected musicians will be announced in March. The competition will consist of three rounds of live performances, all of which will be open to the public. Among new features of the competition will be a classical concerto to be performed by the instrumentalists during the semifinal round.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the top five competitors in each discipline of piano, violin, cello, and to each of the top four competitors in the men’s and women’s solo vocal categories. First prize (always to be awarded) is 20,000 Euro; second, 15,000 Euro; third, 10,000 Euro; fourth, 5,000 Euro; and fifth, 3,000 Euro. An additional prize, a Grand Prix of 10,000 Euro, may be awarded to one of the gold medalists deemed outstanding by the juries. Additional awards will be given for best performance of the chamber concertos and the commissioned new work.