Tchaikovsky and Tsujii
How exciting — the International Tchaikovsky Competition is streaming online for the first time this year! Taking place every four years in Moscow, the Tchaikovsky is one of the major events in the classical music community. It started out with tracks for piano and violin and has now expanded to include cello and voice. This year’s event lasts from June 14 – July 2, 2011.
Watching the early stages of this competition reminds me of the last major competition I followed thanks to web streaming — the 2009 Van Cliburn piano competition. (Incidentally, Van Cliburn’s career took off after he won the very first Tchaikovsky competition in 1958.)
The most heartwarming story of that competition was that of blind Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii, who eventually won one of two gold medals awarded that year. While there were several other pianists who possessed more technical polish, I don’t think any other competitor delivered more moving, inspiring performances. (Check out his Chopin Berceuse!)
A memorable moment in the competition was Tsujii’s chamber music round, a performance of Schumann’s piano quintet with the Takacs string quartet. It was a remarkable accomplishment for all the musicians, especially considering that they had to work across a language barrier and without the normal visual cues chamber music usually involves. As Tsujii is often quoted as saying, “There are no barriers in the field of music.”