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Valery Gergiev tells about the XVI International Tchaikovsky Competition

Organizing Committee
Valery Gergiev tells about the XVI International Tchaikovsky CompetitionValery Gergiev’s brief visit to Moscow between his tour with the Munich Philharmonic and the beginning European tour with the Mariinsky Orchestra was designed in an exclusive Gergiev style. There was a concert in the Tchaikovsky Hall, where the Mariinsky Theatre performed Simon Boccanegra opera by Giuseppe Verdi, an outstanding work by the Theatre and baritone Vladislav Sulimsky. An hour before the concert, the first meeting of the Organizing Committee of the XVI International Tchaikovsky Competition took place

As it turned out, Valery Gergiev has something to surprise the music world at the upcoming International Tchaikovsky Competition. On his initiative, a new specialty, Wind and Brass Instruments, will be added in the Competition program. More precisely, there will be subdivision into two separate juries: Brass (trumpet, horn, trombone, tuba) and Woodwinds (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon). Accordingly, the medals will be awarded in both nominations.

According to Valery Gergiev, the International Tchaikovsky Competition gives such a serious start to its winners today that it would be odd not to give such an opportunity for the wind instrument players to express themselves. “I think that this news will be a tremendous stimulus for future soloists. Practically all flutists and oboists, clarinetists and horn players work in orchestras, and they will represent not only their instrument at this prominent Competition, but also their teams. I think a lot of people will benefit from such a decision”, said Valery Gergiev.

The new proposal did not cause any objections of the Organizing Committee, but the natural question is, what repertoire will the freshly made contestants perform? The matter is that the wind instrument players don’t have such wealth of solo compositions like other instrumentalists. Valery Gergiev will allow the performance of solo fragments of orchestral compositions at the Competition. Perhaps the new nomination will be an incentive not only for young musicians, but also for composers.

The second innovation of the International Tchaikovsky Competition will be its more compressed time format: three tours will now take place in 10 days instead of two weeks: from 17 to 27 June 2019 in Moscow (Piano, Violin, Brass) and in St. Petersburg (Cello, Voice, Woodwinds). From 11 to 16 June 2019, a preliminary tour for all contestants will take place in Moscow. Gala concerts of laureates are scheduled for June 29, 2019 (the Great Hall of the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory) and for June 30, 2019 (the New Stage of the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg). Valery Gergiev believes that such a decision is necessary “so that eminent jurors, emblematic people in their industry, could attend the Competition without skipping tours because of their packed touring schedules”.

The Competition rules pertaining to the number of participants will be updated as well: 24 pianists, 24 cellists, 24 violinists, 20 brass players, 20 woodwind instrument players and 40 vocalists, each 16 to 32 years old.

Valery Gergiev did find something to surprise the music world.

Valery Gergiev also reminded those present that many of today’s young pianists, first of all, Daniil Trifonov, “got a start in life through victories in the International Tchaikovsky Competition. But neither the XIV Competition nor the XV Competition revealed a gold medalist in the Violin nomination”. According to Maestro, this is a strange situation, since “it’s impossible to immediately see the future Oistrakh or Heifetz in a 20-year-old musician. I think we were somewhat harsh on how to evaluate young violinists. And it’s our serious task to take a closer look at our future participants”.


Irina Muravieva, from Rossiyskaya Gazeta materials