Tchaikovsky judges bend rules to allow 7 men in piano finals

Tchaikovsky judges bend rules to allow 7 men in piano finals


norman lebrecht

June 22, 2019

The all-male piano finalists are:

Kenneth Broberg

Konstantin Emelyanov


Mao Fujita

Alexandre Kantorow

Alexey Melnikov

Dmitri Shishkin

An Tianxu




  • Luigi Nonono says:

    Hooray, Kenneth!

  • Ray says:

    A really good selection from a very strong field. It could not have been an easy decision. The only one that I am not a fan of is Shishkin. I thought there was something a little strange about the rhythm of the octaves in his Chopin Scherzo. Initially, I did not think An would make it because although he is very good, I thought his choice of repertoire was too narrow. Great that the jury recognized his excellent technique, interpretation and control.

  • Ken says:

    Really!? An Tianxu??

  • Andrei says:

    Horrible list…

  • John Smith says:

    Perhaps they were the 7 best candidates…

  • Keen Ned says:

    Meanwhile in St Peterburg (where the Vocal rounds are being held), many are commenting that the level of the men this year is so far below the women that the male/female ratio of finalists needs to be revised. Excellent female soloists are losing places to merely average men, and it’s time for the rigid proportions of men and women to be over-ridden.

  • Adista says:

    Broberg is the archetypal clean, careful, cautious player that wins competitions.

    • John Epstein says:

      I heard him play “clean and cautious” (and tired?) in a preview performance ten days ago at University of Houston (also terrible piano), and might have agreed with you. However, the video feed of what he just delivered in Moscow reveals a totally different performer. The Medtner was transformative, gorgeous color and sense. His Op. 110 had everything I missed here in Houston — surprise and revelation. I think you do him injustice just because he obviously delivers notes. To my ears, he’s a REAL pianist. Good luck to them all.

    • Ray says:

      Being careful or cautious has nothing to do with performance in the age of pyrotechnic piano technique. One is only truly ready for performance, let alone a competition, when one’s command of the notes is fully automatised (automatisiert in German). This allows the pianist to then fully concentrate on shaping the interpretation.

  • Anon says:

    Meanwhile in the brass catagory which began yesterday, there is an all-male jury, and only one woman among all 46 candidates!

    In the winds, there is only one woman on the 12 person jury, but the breakdown among the semi-finalists is reasonable: 6 of the 17 winds playing 2nd rounds are women: 3 flutists, 1 oboist and 2 bassoonists.

  • John says:

    This is the most notorious “jury” in international competition history. Something is obviously already amiss. Someone’s darling would only go through if they expanded to seven finalists.
    God bless Menachem Pressler. Imagine having to sit through six Tchaikovsky 1st. He’s probably thinking, at his age, well, what difference does it make (although I know that he takes his every role in music with complete dedication). But really! These contests are for sh..t. Just nice that they stream and archive them, so we can all get mad! And who knows who Putin likes?

    • Ray says:

      There are 11 jury members so whose darlings get to be in the finals? The main “darling” pre-competition was Malofeev and he was rightly eliminated because of poor performance.

  • Robert von Bahr says:

    Could anyone add the URL to the streaming?
    Thanks – Robert

  • Scriabin says:

    Kantorow instead of Kopachevsky ??!!

  • Philip says:

    The constant insinuations about gender in these reports gets really tiresome. It truly shouldn’t matter.

  • M McAlpine says:

    I might appear simple minded, but how is it bending the rules if seven men go through to the finals if those seven are judged to be the best players? I thought that’s what piano competitions were about not flying some gender equality flag.

    • Carlos says:

      Those seven were NOT the best players. An played like a talented amateur at best. Real and far superior artists—Do-Hyun Kim, Daneshpour, and Tarasevich-Nikolaev—were cut.

  • Kenny says:

    Should they add a woman against the opinions of the jury? )) Or have you not heard that women have repeatedly won the competition?)