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International Tchaikovsky Competition BY CAROL JARVIS

I was extremely honoured to be asked to host the first-ever brass category of the prestigious International Tchaikovsky Competition in June this year. The International Tchaikovsky Competition has been running since 1958 and is not only a valuable aspect of Russian culture but also one of the major events in the international music community.The competition is held every four years and the very first competition had just two categories, piano and violin. For the second competition, in 1962, a cello speciality was added, and the vocal category was introduced in the third competition in 1966. Throughout its illustrious history, the competition has given international fame to outstanding young musicians and helped to launch brilliant international careers, notably pianists such as Daniil Trifonov and Vladimir Ashkenazy, violinists such as Gidon Kremer, Victoria Mullova, cellists such as Mario Brunello, Natalia Gutman, and singers such as Vladimir Atlantov and Deborah Voigt. The 16th edition of the competition (#TCH16) was held in June this year in both Moscow and St. Petersburg and due to the initiative of worldrenowned Russian conductor Valery Gergiev, two new categories were added this year: woodwind and brass. Leading concert halls, orchestras and festivals from around the world are eager to offer their stages to its talented participants and as all of the categories of the competition run simultaneously, eleven stunning venues across Russia were taken over, notably the Great Hall of the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory and the Zaryadya Concert Hall in Moscow, the Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre and Repino Concert Hall in St. Petersburg. The brass competition took up residence in the State Academic Chapel in St. Petersburg, the 10

oldest concert hall in the city. It was founded as the residence of the Emperor Court Choir Capella, the oldest professional choir in St. Petersburg, which was established in Moscow in 1479 and transferred to St. Petersburg in 1703 by order of Peter the Great, making it as old as Peter’s city itself. In 1837, upon the initiative of the Czar, Mikhail Glinka was appointed chief conductor of the Capella. Rimsky-Korsakov was also one of the former directors, so the Cappella has certainly been in very capable hands during its history. Today, with its excellent acoustics, the Academic Glinka Cappella, as their hall is now called, is considered to be one of the best concert halls in the world, and it definitely suited brass instruments during the International Tchaikovsky Competition. 229 competitors took part across all the categories this year, with 46 of them in the brass category. Out of the 93 brass applicants for the competition, just nine of them were female, which was definitely a disappointment for many. Just one female brass player made it through to compete in Russia, Hae-Ree Yoo, from South Korea, playing the french horn, and she made it right the way through to the finals, which was wonderful. The brass instruments in the brass category were trumpet, french horn, trombone and tuba, with a nice balance across all of them; 13 trumpets, 12 horns, 12 trombones and 9 tubas. A wide age range of brass competitors (18–32) took part from all corners of the world: from Taiwan to Portugal, from Kazakhstan to Belarus, from Canada to Turkey, and from China to the UK, so it was truly international. Chaired by Ian Bousfield, the other trombone players on the brass Jury were Christian Lindberg and JÜrgen

Profile for British Trombone Society

The Trombonist - Summer 2019