Classical Music

Violin and Piano competition held in Moscow every four years.
Directed and written by Bill Fertik
Produced by Robert Dalrymple and Ken Locker
EDITOR Brian Williams
MUSIC Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky


By SERGE SCHMEMANN, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES
Published: July 3, 1982

The Seventh Tchaikovsky Competition went into its final round today, with 12 young Americans hoping to emulate the glory achieved here by Van Cliburn 24 years ago, at the first of the contests.
Mr. Cliburn, of course, went on to parlay his Tchaikovsky laurel into a celebrated career as concert pianist, and the young American pianists, cellists, violinists and singers - many of whom paid their own way to Moscow - made plain that the prize they sought was not the 3,500 rubles - officially worth $5,000 but not convertible to dollars. What they wanted more than money was the exposure and publicity provided by the renowned competition.
The glamour, as in the days of Mr. Cliburn, is concentrated on the piano, and for James Barbagallo, a 29-year-old concert pianist from Long Island City, the competition offers a chance to open up a career that, he concedes, ''is not setting the world on fire.''
''The object of entering, frankly, is to get concerts,'' he said. ''I came hoping to make the finals, so my manager would have an easier time selling me.''
Mr. Barbagallo is among the oldest of the surviving Americans. The maximum for participation is 30. Soviet critics have singled him out for praise as a ''mature professional musician with confident technique.'' Tough Competition Ahead
Having made the finals, Mr. Barbagallo displayed few illusions about the tough competition ahead, especially from the Soviet side, which has dominated the piano since 1958. Vladimir Ovchinnikov and Kale Ranadalu of the Soviet Union have attracted particular attention, as has a Bulgarian pianist, Emma Takhmizyan.
Mr. Barbagallo's feelings about playing in Moscow were mixed. There is, of course, the tension, he said. ''I feel fine, but nervous, and I must say I'm looking forward to this being over.'' There are also the petty problems so familiar to Western travelers in the Soviet Union - ''like trying to get a waiter, or forgetting your registration card and having a security guard who knows you perfectly well bar you from entering the Conservatory.''
The pianist also displayed irritation at being assigned a fixed six hours of practice a day, a schedule he said left him no flexibility. But the facilities, he said, were better than those usually provided at competitions in the United States and he described the Soviet organizers as ''very, very nice.'' ''There's some cultural excursion every day,'' he added. ''They give us a special luncheon room, and on the whole it's a marvelous experience.'' 2 U.S. Players in Piano Finals
Mr. Barbagallo is one of two Americans in the piano finals. They are ranged against five Soviet musicians, two Japanese and one each from Britain, New Zealand, the Philippines and Bulgaria.
Jonathan Shames, 25, of Springfield, Mass., the first American to play, will perform on Monday, and Mr. Barbagallo will follow on Tuesday.
Mr. Shames is a musician by training and family. His father is a tenor, his mother a pianist and his sister a violinist. He studied piano at the University of Michigan under Theodore Lettvin.
But a musical family and years of study give no guarantee of a living. ''The quickest way to a career is an international competition,'' said Mr. Shames. ''And Tchaikovsky is the one.''
At the same time, he added, it was risky to invest too many hopes and prospects on a single contest. ''In another four years there will be another Tchaikovsky competition and other finalists. ...''
The closing ceremonies are scheduled for next Friday. Though pianists tend to keep the limelight at the Tchaikovsky, the most impressive American showing has been among violinists. Five of the 12 finalists this year are Americans, including three New Yorkers: Kerry McDermott, 20, Ralph Evans, 29, and Timothy Baker, 29, as well as Andres Cardenez, 25, of Bloomington, Ind., and Stephanie Chase, 24, of Westport, Conn. 2 Americans Among 16 Singers
Among 16 singers in the finals, there are two Americans, Dolora Zagic and Stephen West. The cello finalists include three Americans: Anthony Ross, 22, of Kalamazoo, Mich., and Alvin McCall, of Newport News, Va., both students at the Stony Brook Campus of the State University of New York, and David Hardy, 24, a cellist with the National Symphony of Washington who studied at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.
For many of those who had survived the brutal winnowing process, the third and final performance, accompanied by a full orchestra, seemed almost a relief.
''The first two rounds are awful,'' said Mr. Ross. ''You can't take a chance like you would in a concert. Everything has to be just right, no excesses at all. In the final, you can be more yourself.''
But not too much, according to Fernando Laires of Baltimore, an American judge in the piano competition. The Soviet judges, the largest group but, according to international practice, less than half the total, were as watchful over propriety and tradition on stage as over the quality of the performance. Many Unqualified Americans
The Russians, in fact, were miffed by the large number of unqualified Americans who took advantage of lax entrance standards, swelling the original contingent to about 75.
''Apart from truly talented musicians,'' scolded the Cultural Ministry paper Sovetskaya Kultura, the ranks of Americans ''frequently included those who might be better termed simple tourists.''
The carefully screened Russians entrants, by contrast, lost only one contestant in the passage to the piano finals, and even that was considered unusual. As a rule, veterans of the competition said, the Soviet Union doesn't enter musicians unless they are virtually certain of qualifying for the finals.
The heavy emphasis on Russian music seemed further to tilt the scales in favor of Soviet musicians. But Mr. Barbagallo, for one, had little argument with the choice of mandatory compositions.
''For us,'' he said, ''the Russian music is really meaty stuff to play -it's one blockbuster after another.'' The New Yorker also had no qualms anticipating a Soviet triumph. ''It'll be very difficult to take the prize away from the Russians,'' he said. ''But I have no hassle with Russians' winning - they are magnificent piano players.''
The Seventh Tchaikovsky Competition went into its final round today, with 12 young Americans hoping to emulate the glory achieved here by Van Cliburn 24 years ago, at the first of the contests.
Mr. Cliburn, of course, went on to parlay his Tchaikovsky laurel into a celebrated career as concert pianist, and the young American pianists, cellists, violinists and singers - many of whom paid their own way to Moscow - made plain that the prize they sought was not the 3,500 rubles - officially worth $5,000 but not convertible to dollars. What they wanted more than money was the exposure and publicity provided by the renowned competition.
The glamour, as in the days of Mr. Cliburn, is concentrated on the piano, and for James Barbagallo, a 29-year-old concert pianist from Long Island City, the competition offers a chance to open up a career that, he concedes, ''is not setting the world on fire.''
''The object of entering, frankly, is to get concerts,'' he said. ''I came hoping to make the finals, so my manager would have an easier time selling me.''
Mr. Barbagallo is among the oldest of the surviving Americans. The maximum for participation is 30. Soviet critics have singled him out for praise as a ''mature professional musician with confident technique.'' Tough Competition Ahead
Having made the finals, Mr. Barbagallo displayed few illusions about the tough competition ahead, especially from the Soviet side, which has dominated the piano since 1958. Vladimir Ovchinnikov and Kale Ranadalu of the Soviet Union have attracted particular attention, as has a Bulgarian pianist, Emma Takhmizyan.
Mr. Barbagallo's feelings about playing in Moscow were mixed. There is, of course, the tension, he said. ''I feel fine, but nervous, and I must say I'm looking forward to this being over.'' There are also the petty problems so familiar to Western travelers in the Soviet Union - ''like trying to get a waiter, or forgetting your registration card and having a security guard who knows you perfectly well bar you from entering the Conservatory.''
The pianist also displayed irritation at being assigned a fixed six hours of practice a day, a schedule he said left him no flexibility. But the facilities, he said, were better than those usually provided at competitions in the United States and he described the Soviet organizers as ''very, very nice.'' ''There's some cultural excursion every day,'' he added. ''They give us a special luncheon room, and on the whole it's a marvelous experience.'' 2 U.S. Players in Piano Finals
Mr. Barbagallo is one of two Americans in the piano finals. They are ranged against five Soviet musicians, two Japanese and one each from Britain, New Zealand, the Philippines and Bulgaria.
Jonathan Shames, 25, of Springfield, Mass., the first American to play, will perform on Monday, and Mr. Barbagallo will follow on Tuesday.
Mr. Shames is a musician by training and family. His father is a tenor, his mother a pianist and his sister a violinist. He studied piano at the University of Michigan under Theodore Lettvin.
But a musical family and years of study give no guarantee of a living. ''The quickest way to a career is an international competition,'' said Mr. Shames. ''And Tchaikovsky is the one.''
At the same time, he added, it was risky to invest too many hopes and prospects on a single contest. ''In another four years there will be another Tchaikovsky competition and other finalists. ...''
The closing ceremonies are scheduled for next Friday. Though pianists tend to keep the limelight at the Tchaikovsky, the most impressive American showing has been among violinists. Five of the 12 finalists this year are Americans, including three New Yorkers: Kerry McDermott, 20, Ralph Evans, 29, and Timothy Baker, 29, as well as Andres Cardenez, 25, of Bloomington, Ind., and Stephanie Chase, 24, of Westport, Conn. 2 Americans Among 16 Singers
Among 16 singers in the finals, there are two Americans, Dolora Zagic and Stephen West. The cello finalists include three Americans: Anthony Ross, 22, of Kalamazoo, Mich., and Alvin McCall, of Newport News, Va., both students at the Stony Brook Campus of the State University of New York, and David Hardy, 24, a cellist with the National Symphony of Washington who studied at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.
For many of those who had survived the brutal winnowing process, the third and final performance, accompanied by a full orchestra, seemed almost a relief.
''The first two rounds are awful,'' said Mr. Ross. ''You can't take a chance like you would in a concert. Everything has to be just right, no excesses at all. In the final, you can be more yourself.''
But not too much, according to Fernando Laires of Baltimore, an American judge in the piano competition. The Soviet judges, the largest group but, according to international practice, less than half the total, were as watchful over propriety and tradition on stage as over the quality of the performance. Many Unqualified Americans
The Russians, in fact, were miffed by the large number of unqualified Americans who took advantage of lax entrance standards, swelling the original contingent to about 75.
''Apart from truly talented musicians,'' scolded the Cultural Ministry paper Sovetskaya Kultura, the ranks of Americans ''frequently included those who might be better termed simple tourists.''
The carefully screened Russians entrants, by contrast, lost only one contestant in the passage to the piano finals, and even that was considered unusual. As a rule, veterans of the competition said, the Soviet Union doesn't enter musicians unless they are virtually certain of qualifying for the finals.
The heavy emphasis on Russian music seemed further to tilt the scales in favor of Soviet musicians. But Mr. Barbagallo, for one, had little argument with the choice of mandatory compositions.
''For us,'' he said, ''the Russian music is really meaty stuff to play -it's one blockbuster after another.'' The New Yorker also had no qualms anticipating a Soviet triumph. ''It'll be very difficult to take the prize away from the Russians,'' he said. ''But I have no hassle with Russians' winning - they are magnificent piano players.''

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