Unique footage of the First International Competition. Tchaikovsky from the RIA Novosti photo archive
MOSCOW, June 3 – RIA Novosti. We continue a series of materials about a unique collection of digitized attribution photos in the RIA Novosti repository, which includes more than three million frames. Its earliest history dates back to the mid-19th century. Visual Projects Service employees conduct scientific studies to find reliable information for historical photographs of different years.
International competition named after PI. Tchaikovsky is the biggest event in the classical music world, held every four years for 65 years. The main purpose of the competition is to identify new talents.
In the first photo: American pianist Van Cliburn, winner of I International PI. Tchaikovsky (March 18 – April 13, 1958) during a performance on the day of the awards ceremony and the final concert on April 14, 1958.
The idea to organize the competition arose in 1939, when preparing a plan of events at the highest state level for the 100th anniversary of the birth of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in 1940. But in 1941 the Great Patriotic War began. In 1956, the competition was founded by the organizing committee headed by the Soviet composer and pianist Dmitry Shostakovich. He presided for almost 20 years. In 1957, the chairman of the organizing committee sent information about the competition and notes of the works provided by the program to all ensembles, foreign conservatories, concert organizations and individual musicians with cultural ties to the USSR.
The first competition was held in Moscow in 1958. The competition of the year was announced and included two disciplines: piano and violin. 67 artists from 21 countries participated. In 1962 the “cello” specialization was added, and in 1966 the category “solo singing” appeared in the third competition.
The winners of the first prizes went to the American pianist Van Cliburn and the Soviet violinist Valery Klimov. There was no separate selection of foreign participants, and Cliburn learned about the Moscow competition from her teacher, Russian and American pianist Rosina Levina. At the request of Levina, the money for the trip to Moscow was allocated by the private foundation of Martha Baird Rockefeller. The provision of all foreign participants during their stay in the USSR was undertaken by the Soviet government. Such conditions have never been offered by other competitions. In addition, prizes from five to 25 thousand rubles were awarded to 16 laureates. Unsurprisingly, the Tchaikovsky Competition was immediately referred to as “generous”.
Soviet composer, People’s Artist of the USSR, chairman of the organizing committee Dmitry Shostakovich presents a diploma and a gold medal to the winner American pianist Van Cliburn (from right to left).
The real hero and legend of the competition was the pianist Van Cliburn. The charming American conquered not only the jury, who almost unanimously voted to award him the first place, but also the hearts of the Soviet people, who nicknamed him the affectionate “Vanechka”.
Queen Elizabeth of Belgium, who arrived in the USSR as the guest of honor in connection with the first International Competition of Violinists and Pianists, at the invitation of the Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR Kliment Voroshilov. PI Tchaikovsky in the box in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory.
Queen Elizabeth of Belgium visited Moscow on 26 March at the invitation of the President of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR Kliment Voroshilov. She was already 82 years old by then. She was the guest of honor of the I International Competition named after PI. Tchaikovsky. The Queen was a connoisseur and patron of the arts, playing the violin and piano, engaged in painting and sculpture, traveling, and befriended artists and scientists. On behalf of the Soviet musical ensemble, Alexander Sveshnikov, the director of the conservatory, was greeted by the Soviet conductor. He thanked him for his respect for the memory of the great Russian composer PI Tchaikovsky and presented him with the commemorative badge of the international competition.
Literally a few days after the end of the competition, on April 26, 1958, the Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers Nikita Khrushchev signed a decree on the regular holding of the International Competition named after PI. Tchaikovsky every four years.
XVII International Competition named after PI. Tchaikovsky will be held from June 19 to July 1, 2023.
Fateful visit: unique footage of Khrushchev’s trip to the USA
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