Saint Petersburg

St. Petersburg Conservatory

Here we heard 13 applicants from across the Russian Federation. In all, we will hear 27 Russian in auditions, which is the largest national majority. However, in these days many of the Russians study and live abroad.

Liszt and Rachmaninoff were the favorite composers for these applicants, and we did hear some wonderful Scarlatti. Whatever the acclaim of the ‘Russian school’ ~ factors of it are in transition. Time brings change.

It is interesting to note that the audiences in the Conservatory do not applause until the performance is ended, and even then the response is only polite.

The acoustics are wonderful, and the hall is richly beautiful. Over the last four years, the Conservatory has undergone major restoration for its public places ~ like most of the imperial buildings in St. Petersburg ~ utterly stunning. The city has a special glow this week as it celebrates the 65th anniversary of the end of the Seige of Stalingrad/St. Petersburg.

Today we leave snowy St. Petersburg and head for Lugano, Switzerland, and two days of rest ~ a welcomed respite on the schedule before four intense days begin. The auditions in Lugano will be streamed on our website ~ so take a look, beginning Saturday, 31 January. And, I will be back on the blog. We all send our hellos to everyone. We are still in tact and holding up! Alann

Shanghai ~ first day

Shanghai Conservatory of Music hosted a Press Conference for the Cliburn as it launches its first competition screening auditions in China. Interest focused on the webcast of competition in May-June, the process of selection of the jurors, the artwork for the competition, and the 3 years of engagements for the winners that accompany the prizes.

Veda Kaplinsky, Richard Dyer, John Giordano, Hung-Kuan Chen, Marcello Abbado ~ the Screening Jury ~ with Richard as they complete their orientation of the rules and procedures for the auditions. Before the first recitals at 8:00 Thursday evening, 15 January, the group went to the Yu Gardens for last-minute sightseeing and shopping before the arduous work begins.

Vendors in the square and in hundreds of stalls surrounding Yu Gardens

Vendors line the square and entice you from hundreds of stalls surrounding Yu Gardens. If you can’t find what you are looking for here, it doesn’t exist! The Gardens are amazing; 500 hundred years old, they have been restored several times and remain a place of inspiration and tranquility.

Today is the last day in the office before we take off. Richard and I need lots of help getting everything into a briefcase or suitcase ~ schedules, contact information, presents, cameras, computers and all the wires that power these wonderful machines. Diane and Pat and Janice know how to fit it together. Hope we still have room for the boots and gloves. We are leaving Fort Worth where it is a balmy 76 degrees and heading for much colder clime. Alann

The entire Cliburn staff is working feverishly to finalize preparations for the screening auditions which begin next week. Cliburn President, Richard Rodzinski, and Cliburn Chairman, Alann Sampson, will join Jury Chairman John Giordano, and Jurors Marcello Abbado, Hung-Kuan Chen, Richard Dyer, and Veda Kaplinsky in Shanghai – the first of 6 cities – to hear 155 applicants for the first phase of the Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. I will be the blogger for the journey and hope to send photos and news from each city. Follow our story. Alann