Tchaikovsky winners sound optimistic note

One of the world's leading music contests, the International Tchaikovsky music competition, has ended in Moscow. After weeks of competing, the prize-winners can now take a short break, before launching into new careers.

Political figures, jury members, Conservatory students and music lovers – all came to the closing ceremony at the Moscow Conservatory.

Many are happy with the way the contest went.

“I am satisfied both with the results the participants have shown, and the work of the jury. I think everything was fair,” said Nikolay Petrov, jury chairman (piano).  

But not everyone agrees with his assessment.  As with any serious music contest, the Tchaikovsky competition is full of politics and undercurrents.

“There is much to be improved.  In particular – the way the musicians are admitted to the contest. I know there were some brilliant violinists who were not chosen after the preliminary auditions,” noted Zakhar Bron, jury member (violin).

The musicians went through a lot before collecting their prizes at the Grand Hall of Moscow Conservatory.
Mayuko Kamio won first prize in the violin section. She comes from Japan and studies in Germany with a Russian professor.

“It's one of the biggest competitions in the world. I feel very honoured to have the first prize,” said Mayuko Kamio, first-prize winner (violin).

With a hefty $US 20,000 for the first prizes, the Tchaikovsky competition is first of all about prestige and the hope for a successful career.

“I take part in competitions to find my audience, to be invited to play at different concert halls. That's what it is made for.  And such a contest is a real ordeal for any musician,” explained Sergey Antonov, first prize winner (cello).

Despite all the problems the competition has faced since the collapse of the USSR, it remains a must on the list of those climbing up the musical ladder.