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© RIA Novosti. Vladimir Vyatkin

Gergiev 'insulted' by Tchaikovsky competition row

by at 30/06/2011 18:04


Valery Gergiev, the shining knight of Russian classical music, has declared himself “insulted” by plans to introduce a critics’ prize at the Tchaikovsky competition.

Gergiev, in his first year as the director of the prestigious – but often controversial – Moscow talent-spotting event, was unimpressed by the idea, which was prompted by the appointed jury dismissing the charms of audience favourite Alexander Lubyantsev after the second round.


‘Rude and disrespectful’ journalists

We selected the jury from world-renowned people, and any decision they make seems natural to me,” Gergiev said at a press conference before the competition’s final day in Moscow. “It you want to make a scene, then this is no place for it.”

And renowned pianist Peter Donohoe, one of the jury members, told critics that they already had plenty of influence.

“What you write about the musicians is your main prize,” he said.

Gergiev also noted that if journalists care about talented people, they can support them, but to set up an alternative prize “is rude and disrespectful towards the jury”.


Racism row

This year’s competition has also been marred by a racism row.

Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia, Mark Gorenstein insulted Armenian cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan at a rehearsal on June, 25.

Gorenstein told the orchestra: “Don’t let it concern you at all what this talent, this aul [a small village in the mountains; meant to indicate lack of respect] presented to us is playing. Your task is to play what is written there in the score and to do it with me.”

The organizing committee was forced to issue an official statement, calling the remark “insulting”, and Gorenstein apologized later.

“I am very sorry about what happened and I offer my sincere apologies to all those who I hurt with my words,’ said Gorenstein.


Tchaikovsky online

This year’s competition will be shown live on the Internet for the first time in its history.

“We expect the total audience for the Tchaikovsky competition to be about 1 million. The final will be watched by 200-300,000 people,” said webcast producer Molly McBride.

The final gala concerts by the winners will take place in Moscow on July 1, and St Petersburg on July 2.

The international Tchaikovsky competition was started in 1958 and takes place once every four years. The first competition had two categories: piano and violin. In the second competition in 1962 cello was added, and vocals came last in 1966.

The winner of the first piano competition was Van Cliburn.


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