Valery Gergiev announces judges for this summer’s Tchaikovsky Competition

Valery Gergiev announces judges for this summer’s Tchaikovsky Competition


norman lebrecht

February 08, 2015

Cello judges include:

Lynn Harrell, Misha Maisky, David Geringas, Alexander Knyazev and Carnegie Hall chief Clive Gillinson (a former cellist in the LSO).



Piano judges:

Sergey Dorensky, Dmitry Bashkirov, Vladimir Ovchinnikov, Denis Matsuev, Michel Béroff, Barry Douglas, Peter Donohoe, Alexander Toradze, Menahem Pressler, Verbier chief Martin Engström.

Violin jury:

Yuri Bashmet, Maxim Vengerov, Leonidas Kavakos, Viktor Tretyakov, Vadim Repin, Lucerne chief Michael Haefliger, Boris Kushnir, James Ehnes, Salvatore Accardo and Liana Isakadze.

On the voice panel Gergiev has picked:

Olga Borodina, Thomas Quasthoff, Julia Varady, Samuel Ramey and two ex-Met chiefs John Fisher and Sarah Billingshurst.

More names will be added. The calibre of the juries is outstandingly high. Many of the participants are close personal associates of Valery Gergiev. The resident Russians among them are obedient cap-doffers to the Putin regime.



  • PJ says:

    Even less women than the Vienna Phil.

  • Vovka Ashkenazy says:

    Usual crowd.

  • Jewelyard says:

    Outstanding juries especially in the violin and cello departments. Thrilling to see Repin, Vengerov, Kavakos and Ehnes sitting together on a panel as well as Yo Yo Ma and Lynn Harrell – WOW! It is without question that these two juries are comprised principally of leading soloists and not merely “renowned pedagogues” who would have students participating. This ought to be a pretty fair fight.

  • Julia Bushkova says:

    Not a single woman on the piano or cello judges list. So far — or is this how it will go? Russian male chauvinism – never without it.

  • anon says:

    Where is Leonskaja? I would trust her judgment.

  • DLowe says:

    Or alternatively, one could say that the Russians chosen are talented musicians that have worked with Gergiev before, and whose musical judgement he trusts. Stop trying to politicise everything.

  • Milka says:

    The Tchaikovsky competition has always been about politics

  • Pianoman says:

    “The Russians among them are obedient cap-doffers to the Putin regime” – oh really? Dmitry Bashkirov? Vladimir Ovchinnikov? Toradze? Vengerov? As far as I know, none of these (and perhaps some other Russians in the jury as well) haven’t said or done anything that could be defined as cap-doffing towards the ‘Putin regime’.

    • Pianoman says:

      How interesting, Norman just updated that bit and it now reads “The RESIDENT Russians among them”. Still, how accurate is this statement? Ovchinnikov lives and teaches in Moscow, as far as I remember. Google searches on a few other Russian jurors living in Russia yielded no results on their supposed pro-Putin sentiments. Vadim Repin can be accused of having a picture taken with Putin. Meanwhile, apart from Gergiev himself, I believe that the only jurors mentioned that signed the statement referring to Crimea were Bashmet and Matsuev – correct me if I missed anyone.

  • will says:

    Mr Lebrecht writes:”Many of the participants are close personal associates of Valery Gergiev. The Russians among them are obedient cap-doffers to the Putin regime. -” This is ambivalent – by ‘participants’ does he refer to the judges or to the competitors?

  • Milka says:

    Harrell,Ma ,Gillinson ,Ehnnes,Quasthoft , Ramey Fisher Billingshurst must not be aware
    of Russian invasion of the Ukraine . In 2014
    flight 17 was brought down hundreds of innocent victims murdered- since then thousands
    displaced and killed ,,,all this seemingly approved by Gergiev and friends .
    It seems in the concert world being a competition judge overrides any form of moral integrity .
    It always surprises how people are able to put themselves on the auction block without
    a sense of shame .

    • Pianoman says:

      There’s an investigation into the crash of MH17 which so far hasn’t pointed the finger on anyone. It does not even clearly state that it was a SAM-missile (surface-to-air) that brought the plane down, and there is also little conclusive evidence to prove that the rebels were equipped with functioning BUK missile systems. Meanwhile, there is still no explanation from Ukraine regarding why they had BUK systems in the east – it is particularly striking considering that the rebels don’t have any planes for the Ukranians to shoot down…Also, western media have hardly reported the fact that there were military planes seen by locals around the time of the crash, while Ukrainian army claims their planes did not take off that day.

      As for the conflict in eastern Ukraine, there is no real evidence of Russian regular troops taking part in the fighting, and this 100+ report has examined weapons/artillery/tanks/etc in use during the conflict and has concluded that the vast majority of them comes from within Ukraine:

      As for Crimea, it should come as news to noone that the region wanted to secede with Ukraine ever since the Soviet union collapsed. Separatism has gone up and down since then. A recent poll shows that well over 90% supported joining Russia: (not in english, sorry, but you can use google translate)

    • Pianoman says:

      As for the “thousand displaced” – actually, the number of displaced is more likely around 1-2 million people, of which the vast majority has chosen to flee to the supposed ‘aggressor’ country, Russia. As the Ukrainian army is helplessly trying to force people into mobilization, it comes as little surprise that a significant number of the refugees are men of conscription age.

  • Milka says:

    My point was that some people have lost their sense of moral integrity by associating
    with the likes of Gergiev and friends.That you seemingly are a spokesman for mother
    russia and will dance around any truth that reflects ill on a barbarian invasion is a given
    In my opinion to associate with the likes of Gergiev is to lack moral fibre . The invasion
    reminds one of Sudetenland grab and Hitler .

  • MacroV says:

    So what’s the going rate (and I don’t mean in the sense of “30 pieces of silver”) for working as a jury member at this competition? People like Yo-Yo Ma generally don’t work cheap, at least when performing.

  • Milka says:

    Your 30 pieces of silver observation is spot on – intentional or not … none serve
    music as much as themselves …