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June 27, 2011



Dear Mr. Thomas,
Thank you very much for your reviews of Nigel Armstrong's competition activities in St. Petersburg. Nigel indeed gave a "sensitively nuanced rendition of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto." I can't wait till tomorrow to hear his Prokofiev Concerto.

This competition is really exciting especially when the organizing committee promises to be impartial and void of the contest of politics. Whether they are successful remains to be seen I read that Richard Rodzinski, senior advisor, International Tchaikovsky Competition who has run the Van Cliburn Competition for I believe 23 years, has introduced many new features to the Tchaikovsky Competition.

1. For the first time since his Gold Medal victory in the Tchaikovsky Competition, Van Cliburn returned to Moscow. He even attended some of the auditions, signed autographs, gave interviews.

2. World class judges, not only the traditionally pro-Russians judges. Their slate of judges include Vladimir Ashkenazy, Yefim Bronfman, Barry Douglas, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Lynn Harrell, Leonidas Kavakos, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Vadim Repin, Renata Scotto and Maxim Vengerov, Ralph Kirshbaum, Lynn Harrell, David Garingas, Antonio Meneses, Krzystof Penderecki, John Corigliano, the list goes on.

3. Electronic voting system (the same system that the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition uses)

4. Prize for Commissioned work (Nigel won this for Stomp)

5. Live stream of the competition via the official IX International Tchaikovsky Competition live stream website http://pitch.paraclassics.com.

6. Audience Choice Award - Webcast viewers will have the chance to feel immersed in the proceedings when they vote for their favorite performer in the Audience Choice Award for all disciplines of the Tchaikovsky Competition. Winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony on June 30th. (read about this at: http://www.opus3artists.com/news/?id=2721 and from time code 5:20 of 6/27's cello live stream. I wish the announcement by the cello host had talked more about how to vote for the Audience Choice Award.

After going through multiple websites, I gather that the Audience Choice Award is an award that Rodzinski has adopted from the Cliburn Piano Competition. When I got to the VOTE page of the ParaClassics website, I saw the following directions:

"Now we are launching Audience Choice Award for our webcast viewers. You can vote once in each discipline for your favorite competitor. The results would be committed at 4 pm (Moscow time) 30 June 2011. By that time you can make changes to your vote."

7. Having an official live stream website where I can watch the competitions, view contestant's bio and archived performance.

I only wish that they have included the comments from all the hosts, the interviews that they have conducted, and the performances of all candidates from all rounds through the Archive tab. However, all in all, I believe Richard should be congratulate for a job well down.

Mr. Thomas, thanks for the coverage of Nigel's quest for Tchaikovsky Gold. Please advice if I got any of the facts wrong. Thank you.

Best wishes,

Bob Thomas

Sorry, my bad — it's the second. I've never particularly followed the violin segment before (my late wife was a pianist so I concentrated there, instead) and, therefore, I don't know how common any of these are to play in a major competition (except for the Brahms), although I did think the Berg was highly unusual. Just in case someone asks, the Beethoven Violin Concerto was part of the semis material.


Thank you very much for keeping us informed. You mentioned that Lee is playing Bartok's Concerto, but is it the rarely played First or the more crowd-pleasing Second?

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