A new wind blows at the Tchaikovsky competition

The jury has been named for wind and woodwind section at the Tchaikovsky Competition this summer:

Denis Bouriakov, Principal Flute, Los Angeles Philharmonic (Chair)

Boris Allakhverdyan, Principal Clarinet, Los Angeles Philharmonic

Whitney Crockett, Principal Bassoon, Los Angeles Philharmonic

Eugene Izotov, Principal Oboe, San Francisco Symphony

Daniel Matsukawa, Principal Bassoon, Philadelphia Orchestra

Alexei Ogrintchouk, Principal Oboist, Concertgebouw Orchestra.

Karl-Heinz Schutz, Principal Flute, Vienna Philharmonic

Stephen Williamson, Principal Clarinet, Chicago Symphony

Jacques Zoon, Former Principal Flute, Royal Concertgebouw Orch., Boston Symphony,.

 

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    • It’s the first time for winds. Just imagine the complications getting this organized. They did the best they could in a short time, in a difficult political climate and with everyone saying it would never happen. The brass component is still up in the air. But the woodwinds, thankfully, are well organized and going forward. I give them tremendous credit for that.

      I know that certain artists were contacted – Sabine Meyer, for example – who were not available. They had to organize quickly and there simply wasn’t time to do a comprehensive search.

      I understand your concern, but this not the time for criticism. We want this to happen. If people start bellyaching it won’t. Allow them to get this established whatever way they can right now. Next time round we can make sure it’s politically correct.

    • Give them time, is my thought. This is the first time of having any winds at all. Next time around, when they can’t/ shouldn’t use this same lineup of stars, we’ll see how they do.

      (Am I correct in assuming that you’re referring to the absence of women? They seem to have gone to the world of orchestra musicians for their wind judges, and to my knowledge there just aren’t very many female principal woodwind players at this “super elite orchestra” level: only Elaine Douvas of the Met, Elizabeth Rowe in Boston, and Emily Beynon of the Concertgebouw come easily to mind. Maybe next time around they’ll reach into the world of soloists, where there’s a somewhat wider choice.)

    • The instruments listed on the repertoire page for the competition are flute, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon. Instruments which are or have commonly been made with wood (admittedly, metal flutes are most common now). My horn player other half’s reaction to this was “eh, so what?” After all, Tchaikovsky didn’t really write solo works for any of these instruments — what will we see next, a trumpet section in the Paganini Competition?

  • Wow! That’s a list! All best players in same section!
    And btw, Alexei Ogrintchouk is Concertgebouw’s principal oboist, not only oboe soloist and professor

  • A distinguished group. Last I checked (just now), Alexey Ogrinchuk is still principal oboe of the Concertgebouw.

    Is this going to be a general winds competition, not instrument-specific?

  • Number of female woodwind principals in each of their orchestras:
    Chicago: 0
    LA: 0
    SF: 0
    Philly: 0
    Vienna: 1 (/8 positions)
    Concertgebouw: 1(/8 positions)

    I wonder if all-male juries in top competitions have something to do with the lack of women occupying the top orchestral positions that success at these competitions can lead to?

    • No, “success at these competitions” does not necessarily “lead to the top orchestral positions”. Outstanding playing does.

    • In Vienna, there is two female woodwind principal players: Silvia Careddu in flute and Sophie Dervaux (née Dartigalongue) in bassoon. And in Vienna, there is actually three principal wind positions (also three principals in strings) so the total is 2/12

    • And don’t forget that in LA Phil has been Michele Zukovsky on principal clarinet (1961-2015), Janet Ferguson and Anne Diener Zentner on principal flute (1985-2006 and 1971-2007) and Ariana Ghez on principal oboe (2006-2017).
      And always when people talking about number of women in relation to orchestra – remember that only skills and also suitability for the work community solves the orchestra jobs, not gender or anything else.

  • What do they play in the finale of a Tchaikovsky woodwind competition? Solo excerpts from the Nutcracker?

    (Oooh, lovely 2 bars from the Sugarplum Fairy.)

    • Lensky’s Aria from Eugene Onegin actually. The trascription for flute was made famous by Emmanuel Pahud. They!re requiring it for all winds in the finals. Flutes will do a transcription of Tchaik violin concerto popularized ny Denis Bouriakov.

      • Of course!
        Absolutely the greatest of Flute repertoire!
        2 transcriptions!
        Nonsense.
        When is a Violinist going to play a Mozart’s Flute concerto transcription in a FINAL ROUND of a major competition!? And how do you judge it!?
        Ridiculous!

        This is just such idiocy.
        Let’s all get together and judge a flute player playing a famous Violin concerto and also, let’s make our President of the jury some extra cash and demand everyone has to buy his arrangement of the final piece!
        The repertoire is a joke and the fact that you should buy the Presidents arrangement of the piece (which has recently been OVERshared online to watch him perform it with a piano) is just SHAMEFUL!

        Rampal, Kobe, Nielsen. Those are the big Flute competitions. Tchaikovsky has been and should remain to be a Piano/Violin/Cello gig. The End.

  • For those with doubts about the composition of the jury, your concerns were addressed by the Competition today.

    2 new woodwind jurors have just been added: the distinguished bassoonist Valery Popov, and Munich Philharmonic Principal Oboe Marie Luise Modersohn.

    • And I, who thought that the Tchaikovsky competition aim was to find soloists, not principal orchestral musicians. Yet the Jury completely consists of Orchestral principal players. Where are the “real” soloists? Like Sharon Bezaly, Heinz Holliger, Martin Fröst, Bram van Sambeek, just to name one from each instrument??? They have insights that a Principal orchestral player doesn’t, however good they might be.

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