There has been the usual mixture of uncertainty and last-minute changes about Valery Gergiev’s chairmanship of the Tchaikovsky Competition, but over the past 24 hours it does appear that the judging benches have been settled.
In both piano and violin sections, Gergiev has tried as best as possible to recruit past winners in order to break the corrupt stranglehold exerted since Stalin’s time by Russian academicians and establishment flaks.
The piano lineup has Van Cliburn as honorary chairman, but no-one is sure if he will turn up.
Vladimir Ashkenazy (who will only attend the final round)
Yefim Bronfman (final round only)
Denis Matsuev (final round only)
The first meeting yesterday was, I’m told, amicable and businesslike.
The violin jury has the same mix of pizzazz and sound judgement. Anne-Sophie Mutter and Maxim Vengerov will turn up only for the last round, if at all. I’m not sure what the composer John Corigliano is doing there, and the Verbier Festival manager Martin Engstroem must have been added to give the winners an early showcase. The rest are:
The competition website, by the way is excellent and there will be live streaming.