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July 11, 2015

A few weeks ago we talked about the start of this year’s Tchaikovsky Competition taking place in Moscow and St Petersburg. The competition has now concluded, the winners and audience favourites have been announced, the final performances have been enjoyed, and the flowers have been presented. Life has, on the surface, returned to normal.

But what happens to the competitors, those who invested innumerable hours and energy into these few days of performances? How do they begin to process the experiences – the joys and disappointments – of the past few weeks? For the winners, the intensity of the schedule and the pressure of performance will intensify as they sign recording and concert contracts. For the others, it’s a return to the routines of life.

Jennifer Koh, US-based violininst who won joint 2nd prize in the 1994 Tchaikovsky Competition, when interviewed about why she entered, said, “… I would hope that any student who enters a competition is doing it to grow as a musician, as a healthy challenge to do the repertoire they choose to play. Music is not about competitions — it’s about passion and loving what you do.”

After the celebration, following that final note, when the orchestra has gone home, and the flowers have wilted, who are you as a person? The video below of the Winners Concert is delightful in many ways, but it’s so wonderful to see the excitement on the performer’s faces, see their relief at a job well-done, and to applaud their achievements with the enthusiastic audience.

Our celebrations and our discouragements, our achievements and our failures; these are all opportunities to share the depth of our passions and the truth of our character. Be inspired by their dedication and talent, but let them remind you that the evaluation that matters most is who we are when the party’s over.

The Winner’s Concert from the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition