- Mikael Tariverdiev International Organ competition - Mikael Tariverdiev International Organ competition - Mikael Tariverdiev International Organ competition - Mikael Tariverdiev International Organ competition


22.08.2014 The Organ+ festival will be held between 10 and 18 October

In 2014, the Organ+ festival will be held between 10 and 18 October. Commencing its opening ceremony, on 10 October at the Tramway Depot #1, will be a concert by the famous Lithuanian band Subtilu-Z. The same day will also see the presentation of a tram car that may well become one of Kaliningrad’s cultural trademarks. The side of the tram will be inscribed with the names of projects which have become the cultural signatures of Kaliningrad: namely, the Mikael Tariverdiev International Organ Competition and the Organ+ festival. The idea behind such an unusual concert is to try to attract public attention to cultural events and bring the city dwellers together with a view to improve the communal environment.

Another participant in the festival is the Monteverdi Choir from Hamburg, which is to present a programme titled Five Centuries of Choir Music and W. A. Mozart’s Requiem. Participants in the concerts include opera stars Ute Selbig, Annekathrin Laabs, Martin Petzold, Henryk Boehm, and 6th Mikael Tariverdiev International Organ Competition winner Moritz Schott. The Monteverdi Choir is an outstanding collective recognized as one of the best professional choirs in the world.

The first thing I saw was a pair of worn old shoes. And then, the person revered as an organ legend by the entire musical world, who tops sales charts around the world with his Bach recordings, and whose name sounds like a poem: Michel Chapuis. I met him at the Vesna choir school where he was giving a solo concert, which is in itself incredible. But he was courting a Russian girl at the time and wound up in a northern part of Moscow where I probably wouldn’t have travelled myself if I hadn’t taken in upon myself to persuade him to come to the first Mikael Tariverdiev International Organ Competition in Kaliningrad — as a member of the jury. He agreed. And so it was that the great professor of the Conservatoire de Paris, head organist at the Versailles chapel, member of the state commission for the preservation of monuments, Commander of the National Order of the Legion of Honour, and holder of numerous other titles travelled to the land of Kaliningrad. One day during the competition, Chapuis had an unusual request: he wanted to take a tram ride. This was when it turned out he was not only a musical genius, but also a tram, steam engine and bobtail car aficionado, and one of the founders of an antique public transport museum in Paris. In his own 15th century castle, he has built a miniature railway, 40 centimetres across, which he uses for transporting sheet music. He also finds that the inner workings of a tram greatly resemble those of an organ.

We took him on a private tram tour, and showed him the depot; afterwards, the maestro wrote the following in the complaints and compliments book of the Kiberda internet cafe where we had had dinner with him and with Slava Belza: “In remembrance of our trip to Kaliningrad, an unforgettable journey to this spectacular region of the Baltic Sea. A great many thanks to Vera who introduced us to the works of Mikael Tariverdiev, full of melodic and harmonic sensitivity. A different register, as it were. How wonderful that this city is criss-crossed with tram lines (there are ten) and has a fantastic depot. Had an extraordinary meeting with some competent and dedicated people. Thus much for Entry #5. With friendly regards, Michel Chapuis.”

I’ve often recollected that day, the trip, and Michel Chapuis himself. And when we were looking for a venue for the opening concert of the 2014 Organ+ festival, I thought: why not hold the concert at Depot N1? Thus Marina Vasilyeva and myself became conductors of an old tram. It was then that I fully understood Chapuis: the world of trams is a very romantic one. It adds a warm, romantic hue to the look of the city. And loving that city as we do, we must support the preservation of its trams. And we aren’t alone: because of the organ competition and the Organ+ festival, many musicians from all over the world have developed an affection for Kaliningrad.”

On October 10, Depot N1 will host a concert by a unique ensemble from Vilnius, Subtilu-Z. Its musicians are also very fond of trams. On that day, there will not only be music in an unusual setting and with unusual acoustics. On the same day we will also introduce to the public the first tram which anyone can take part in painting, if they’re not impartial to the future of the city, its environment and its atmosphere. We’re calling it the “Evening Tram”. And, in Michel Chapuis’ honour, the tram will also be decorated with the words “Mikael Tariverdiev International Organ Competition” and “Organ+ Festival”.

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