The Tchaikovsky Competition has issued a statement admitting a terrible mistake that cost the Chinese pianist An Tianxu any chance of succeeding in the final.
An announcement had been made in Russian substituting Rachmaninov’s Paganini Variations for the Tchaikovsky concerto, but the pianist did not understand Russian and was visibly bewildered at hearing the Rachmaninov opening.
The jury chair Denis Matsuev offered the pianist afterwards a chance to repeat his performance, but An Tianxu was too upset.
The announcer has been fired.
Nobody else takes responsibility for switching round the concertos without telling the soloist.
It’s a fuckup disgrace.
Nothing about it on official competition media.
Here’s rough translation of the official statement:
Due to a horrendous mistake made by a staff member of the Svetlanov Orchestra, on the 25th of June, before the appearance of the soloist, Tchaikovsky Competition piano contestant Tianxu An, the orchestra members and the conductor were presented the scores of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff pieces put in a wrong order – different from the order declared by the contestant. Therefore the performance started with a fault – it took a moment for the contestant to switch to another piece.
By the unanimous decision of the jury, the Chairman D. Matsuev officially offered Tianxu An to replay his program again. The contestant has officially declined the offer.
The head administration of Svetlanov State Orchestra has fired their staff member after this dreadful incident.”