The Tariverdiev International Organ Competition is one of the world’s largest organ contests. For organists, it has the same significance in Russia as the Tchaikovsky competition does for pianists and violinists. Outstanding organists from a number of countries have been on the competition’s panel on several occasions, including Martin Haselböck, Michel Chapuis, Jean Guillou, Thierry Escaich. Winners of the competition are now among the world’s leading organists: Jean-Baptiste Dupont (head organist at Bordeaux Cathedral), Baptiste-Florian Marie-Ouvrard (head organist at St Eustache, Paris), Iveta Apkalna (organist of Elbphilharmonic, Hamburg), Lada Labzina (head organist of Zaryadie Concert Hall, Moscow).
Over the 20 years of its existence, the competition achieved a special standing with organ professionals. Thierry Escaich, head of the panel at the 8th competition, said, “The musicians that took part in the competition showed a high level of performing skill in every round. Participants in the Mikael Tariverdiev International Organ Competition greatly surpass those taking part in other contests. The very friendly environment at the competition is also important.”
Held biennially, the competition spans three continents. The semifinals and finals are held in the city of Kaliningrad, previously known as Konigsberg. The first round consists of three stages, held in Lawrence (Kansas, USA), Hamburg (Germany), and Moscow (Russia). The competition is accompanied by the Organ+ festival, featuring international stars of organ performance.
Vera Tariverdieva, Art-Director of the competition:
Let me introduce this Angel, international Organ Angel. It was manufactured in Kaliningrad. Then it travels to Moscow, Then flies over the ocean to Kansas. Then Angel goes back to Moscow, then to Hamburg for the first European round. Then again to Moscow and finally flies to Kaliningrad, where the second and third rounds of Mikael Tariverdiev International competition be held and Jury decides with whom and where this International Organ Angel has to go.
Mikael Tariverdiev is a composer whose music is popular with several generations of the Russians. The popularity came from his very successful music for films. He has done music for 132 films. But his operas, vocal cycles, symphonic and organ pieces remind virtually unknown, since some of them was never performed in his life time.
24 years back when Mikael Tariverdiev left us, I started thinking how should I live to make part of his music known. I am sure that this music carries a message which is of great importance for men and women all over the world. I am sure they need it. And I invented the competition. It became my life and my vocation. And it never stopped to be my dream.
The competition is made not only of Mikael Tariverdiev’s music but also of the new names of talented individuals, created a musical brotherhood of sorts. It exists above all barriers, sometimes in spite of them.
The 12th Mikael Tariverdiev International Organ Competition will be held in 2021.
It will be held in Hamburg (April, 19-24), Lawrence, Kansas (April, 29-May,1), Moscow (August, 28-31), Kaliningrad (September, 3-9). Winfried Bönig will lead the Jury Panel in Kaliningrad.
Last year I started my speech to present the Organ Angel in Lawrence at the North-American round of the competition with the following quotation:
‘Do you like Americans?’
‘How about the Russians?’
‘Who likes them?!’
‘Then who do you like?’
‘I like my friends.’
I repeat this once more: I love my friends. All those who join in the competition and decide to be a part of the philosophy of Mikael Tariverdiev are friends.