Are the Tchaikovsky contest orchestras good enough? The judges differ.

Are the Tchaikovsky contest orchestras good enough? The judges differ.


norman lebrecht

June 29, 2011

There has been nothing but praise for the Russian National Orchestra – Mikhail Pletnev’s ensemble – which has been playing the piano concerto rounds in Moscow. Alexander Dmitriev has been conducting. Judge Peter Donohoe tweeted: ‘I can say that hearing this wonderful orchestra play Rachmaninov & Tchaikovsky reminds me of why I wanted to be a musician in the 1st place.’

Less impressive were the academy orchestra of the St Petersburg Philharmonic, accompanying the violin concertos. ‘Orchestra was abysmal and conductor worse,’ messaged one judge after the first set. The jury, in uproar, berated the administration. Matters improved slightly last night. Maybe it’s time for Valery Gergiev to step up with the baton….

Rachmaninov D minor concerto today in Moscow. Not to be missed.


  • Yes, the conducting did seem rather inflexible to some of the violin competitors’ musical demands.

    I’m finding this Tchaikovsky competition rather frustrating, not because it isn’t great, but because there aren’t enough hours in the day to watch it all! I wonder if the archive will remain active for a while to allow those of us with day jobs to catch up on some of the highlights after the event has finished? Unlike the Guardian’s free Meistersinger video, the streaming quality has been excellent. (I should add that it’s the post event catch-up video on the Guardian website I take issue with, rather than the live stream on Sunday, which was of a much higher quality).

  • Kapell says:

    I thought the orchestra / conductor in the Mozart piano concerto round even “better.” Others views ?