Just in: Tchaikovsky Competition is expelled from world body

Just in: Tchaikovsky Competition is expelled from world body


norman lebrecht

April 19, 2022

Message from the World Federation of International Music Competitions:

Geneva, 19 April 2022
In a vote following its Extraordinary General Assembly held on 13 April 2022, the World Federation of International Music Competitions has decided with an overwhelming majority of member votes to exclude the International Tchaikovsky Competition from its membership with immediate effect.
Many laureates of the Tchaikovsky Competition are among the leading artists of today. However, in the face of Russia´s brutal war and humanitarian atrocities in Ukraine, the WFIMC as an apolitical organization cannot support or have as a member, a competition financed and used as a promotional tool by the Russian regime.
While our first and foremost goal must always be the active support of young artists, and right now particularly Ukrainian artists, the WFIMC affirms its previous statement against blanket sanctions on all Russians and against the discrimination and exclusion of individual artists, based on their nationality. In times of war especially, we believe it to be essential to maintain a dialogue with those who trust us and who share our values, the same way as we trust them.
Peter Paul Kainrath
Florian Riem
Secretary General



  • Robert Hairgrove says:


    Considering the roles played by Gergiev and Matsuev here, this was really inevitable.

  • Anon says:

    This decision makes sense. I only hope that it won’t discredit the talented artists who’ve succeeded at this Competition in years gone by. They have had no part in Putin’s bad choices. Many prizewinners from around the world have built careers on their successes at the Tchaikovsky. I hope that they will not suffer from this decision.

  • Absurdistan says:

    What virtue-signaling nonsense. Next let’s cancel all artists from any country with a government which exhibits questionable/murderous policies, starting with China and the United States, and let’s see what we have left. How about Van Cliburn? Should we cancel him posthumously, too? Or it was OK to have an “art ambassador” with the Soviet regime which TRULY committed a Ukrainian-and-beyond genocide? The world is led today by incoherent, emoting mollusks with the intelligence of a Tik-Tok “influencer”.

  • Bonetti Micaela says:


  • IP says:

    It was a good beginning but what end can you expect from a former street gangster.

  • Harry Collier says:

    “In times of war”. When exactly has the western world not been engaged in war somwhere or other over the past 60 years?

  • Karl says:

    Sad but inevitable. When the war is over and Putin is gone I hope it can return.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Absolutely fair enough. Russia is fast becoming a hermit kingdom like North Korea and that’s entirely justifiable. And that includes its musicians and artists. And, of course, Putin won’t be able to attend any international talkfests because he’ll be arrested.

  • John Borstlap says:

    ‘………a competition financed and used as a promotional tool by the Russian regime.’

    Of course. A good decision to exclude it.

  • just saying says:

    This is getting ridiculous. Why don’t we just ban Tchaikovsky’s music altogether while we’re at it.

  • Claudio Rossi says:

    Of course we must condemn Putin‘s atrocities and war committed in the name of Russian people… but do we exclude artists who have nothing to do with the war? In Russia now speaking out against Putin can be a death sentence.

    • True North says:

      The Russian people bear a collective responsibility for this, just as the Germans did for Hitler. They have the power to remove Putin, but do they have the will and the courage?

      • Estee says:

        The sad truth is that the vast majority of russians admire and support Putin.
        The story about fear for the family is just an excuse for naive westerns.

      • Guest says:

        A lot of them did in Stalin regime and finished in Gulag, not just died, but destroyed their wives and kids life. My grandfather grew up in orphanage house, he was only 6 when both parents were arrested and sent to Gulag. A lot of people have no imagination about fight with regime. It is very comfortable to sit in your chair and discuss about somebody responsibility.

      • Pianofortissimo says:

        “Collective responsibility” is weird.

  • MacroV says:

    It’s the right decision but should be academic; presumably no self-respecting western musician will agree to serve on a jury, and what competitors who go to Russia anytime soon?

  • Felix says:

    Entirely correct. The inexcusable actions of the Putin regime are a blight on Russia and Russian culture, and history will neither forget nor forgive.

  • alexis piantedoux says:

    from self declared “apolitical organization” to a political organization, not a great step forward…to exclude this competition it is completely wrong, a temporary exclusion could have been much more helpful.

  • Simone says:

    And that is what is called “Cutting off your nose to spite your face”.

  • Ya what says:

    Don’t worry Tchaikovsky competition – you’ll be welcomed back onto the internationally revered market once Putin has been defeated.

  • MPMcGrath says:

    Sanctimonious feel-good actions like this just rob our performers of a career and a livelihood.

    Should we ban American artists because of the inability of that nation’s citizens to contain police violence against citizens?

    Venezuelan politics are wicked. So boo on Dudamel?

    And as Hungary is tightly ruled by anti-democratic Fidusz politicians, let’s shut down Hungarians.

    Are plans in place to sanction French artists should Marine Le Pen win?

    And should Trump republicans win the midterms as predicted: Another reason for an international ban on American groups, soloists, institutions and competitions.

    And HOW can British schools take free keyboards from Lang Lang when he comes from evil China? For shame!

    And the absurdity goes on.

    • Clem says:

      Sigh. Is it really THAT hard to read before commenting? It’s not about individual artists, it’s about an organization financed and used by the regime. The press statement explicitly rejects sanctions against individual artists. Same remark for all the others here who either were too lazy to find out what this is about or wilfully misrepresented it.

  • Kerry says:

    Well done I don’t like that this happened but they had no other choice.

  • Elmar says:

    Great decision! I suggest to forbid all Russian. Let’s remove all Russian literature from stores and libraries, ban Russian music, ban the word Russia and with this you will support democracy and this will suffering of Ukrainians. It turns out that Thchaikovsky is the main culprit of this war and the winners of the contest is threat to the world!

  • Peter says:

    Bravo! I hope now they will also expel state-funded Chinese competitions

  • SoulCollector says:

    It had to happen.

    In addition, any artist who would have competed, and won, would have too controversial a career based on their decision to compete today. They would be looked it sideways for the rest of their lives. Not worth it.

  • Crusty Croissant says:

    Can we still refer to the periodic table ? That too was invented by a Russian. Or should we instead just ban chemistry ?

  • John says:

    Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting. Ukraine has comitted just as many atrocities in this conflict, but is ukrainian music being shunned? No. Music of any kind must be upheld no matter its origin. This is simply pathetic behavior of weak people who have care for true beauty. Shameful.

    • Level-Headed Musician says:

      Are you an idiot? It’s obviously a rhetorical question. Watch or listen to a news source outside of Russia.

    • MacroV says:

      Seriously? And five people upvoted it? Shame on you all.

      Last I checked, Ukraine didn’t invade another country. End of story.

  • SVM says:

    I trust that this so-called “World Federation” is also going to expel Leeds on the grounds of the UK regime’s illegal wars and/or war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, &c., as well as fomenting and extending unrest (and increasing the profits of arms manufacturers) by the proxy of providing a massive flow of armaments to various conflict zones (which is what NATO is doing right now in Ukraine, where many of the armaments are ending up in the hands of extremists and thugs — as a British citizen, I am horrified that my taxes are being used to exacerbate the dreadful conflict in Ukraine and guarantee an ongoing proliferation of weapons among Ukrainian gangs and paramilitary organisations long after the current conflict has ended).

  • Maggie says:

    I heard Tchaikovsky had some Ukrainian roots too? Can’t believe a dead musician could be possibly affected by the war! One day the politicians told us this is Putin’s war, not Russian people’s. The next day anything Russian is discriminated, Russian athletes, tennis players, Russian food/drinks, even Russian cats! Just wonder what’s next we will be told? Could be Russians don’t exist and let’s wipe out their history?!

  • 3mut says:

    Disgusting decision

  • Andreas says:

    then let’s cancel the Van Cliburn competition, after what the states did with Yugoslavia, Libya, Iraq, Syria..what a nonsense!!!

  • Emily Skala says:

    You know, I can only hope that those who are discriminating today will get a taste of their own medicine tomorrow, so that they see how truly terrible and inhumane this decision is for aspiring young artists, working hard to achieve something meaningful in life. Shame should befall all those who would hold the innocent citizenry responsible for the acts of the government leadership.

    But also, this decision is meant to communicate to us plebeians that anyone who stands against “The Agenda” will suffer 1,000-fold…will be bad for the group. Don’t you see the tyranny here? If we don’t stand up to our rights, there are those who are all too happy to take them away. They will trespass against you, too, indiscriminately. Likely they already have.