Russia's first international Competition of organists was held in September 1999 in the city of Kaliningrad. Selection of Kaliningrad as site of the Competititon was not incidental - this Russian enclave is convenient for European traveling and surrounded by organ tradition countries like Poland, Lithuania, the whole Baltic region. Opening up Russia for Europe and Europe for Russia is one of the objectives of this Competition.
The unique place Mikael Tariverdiev's music occupies in Russia, its immense popularity and originality of what he has written for organ are the reason why the Competition is named after him. His artistic and social principles make the Competititon’s ideology.
The Competition is held once in every two years in the Hall of Kaliningrad Philharmonic Society (former church, organ Reger Closs, 1982). It is planned to install a new big organ in the newly restored Cathedral of Kaliningrad where Immanuel Kant is buried. In this sense the logic of development of the Competition agrees with the logic of the city's life and development.
The First Competition was attended by musicians of 14 countries; Jury comprised of prominent musicians of Europe as well as of representatives of organ schools of Russia, Armenia and Georgia. Mr.Garry Grodberg, Jury's chairman and the first interpretator of such works of Mikael Tariverdiev as Organ concerto Cassandra and Organ symphony Chernobyl, Ms.Natalia Gureyeva, Professor of Moscow Conservatoire, Mr.Vaagn Stamboltsian, Professor of Yerevan Conservatoire, M.Michele Shapui of France, Professor Jean Volfs of the Netherlands, Professor Camil Doogh of Belgium, Professor Piter Graiter of Poland sat on the Jury.
Some of the comments of Jury members:
Winners of the Competition had concert tours in many cities both Russian, and European. Several times there were joint performances of the Second and Third Competitions' winners. Prominent among them were concerts in Moscow Conservatoire's Maly Hall, in the Presidential concert hall of Kazan (organized by Triumph Charity Foundation), in St. Eustache Cathedral of Paris organized within the framework of Organ's Prestige Festival under the patronage of Maestro Jean Guillou.
The Third Competition follows the same principles of forming the program. Mikael Tariverdiev pieces are included in all three rounds along with traditional organ repertory. Obligatory for the third tour are pieces by the outstanding organist Mr. Naji Hakim who participated in shaping the program of the Third Competition and assisted the Organizing Committee in preparing the event. Muzyka Publishers brought out in time for the Competition a collection of Mikael Tariverdiev organ works - everything the composer wrote for this instrument. The Organizing Committee is planning jointly with Moscow Conservatoire to launch a contest for the best piece of organ music which would be made a part of the Competition's obligatory program.