Today there are many prizes in the field of art, in some areas -theatrical, literary, cinematographic- not even one. But the concert and philharmonic practice, within which symphony orchestras function, could not stand out for any of that. The conductors and conductors of the philharmonics who met at festivals and forums could only lament that there was nothing like the theatrical “Golden Mask” in their corporate community. The circumstance that the concert program, unlike the performance, does not last long, at best it can be repeated several times, but more often it remains the only fact of the performance, prevented us from finding something similar. And this makes the job of experts practically impossible.
The way out was found, curiously, in the era of the pandemic, a time of difficult circumstances and severe restrictions. It was then that the format of an online concert and online streaming came to the fore in philharmonic practice. The idea of taking a symphony concert, which had a live broadcast as a competitive unit of measure, belongs to the St. Petersburg music critic and expert Nadezhda Markaryan. Together with a small team, he developed the competition format, the nomination system and came up with the name: “What can be integral to all symphony concerts and a symbol of orchestral culture in general? Of course, the note “la”, which sounds in every way before all concerts around the world: 440 hertz is that note”.
State figures were involved as support. The greatest national conductor Yuri Temirkanov agreed to be the president of the 440 Hertz Orchestral Grand Prix, and the heirs of two of the most famous Russian composers of the 20th century, whose works were destined to be on the competition program performed (2021 was an anniversary for both), agreed to chair the jury: Maxim Shostakovich and Gabriel Prokofiev. The idea for a new award was supported by the President’s Fund for Cultural Initiatives. In the summer, within the framework of the project, an educational course “Online Philharmonic” was held on the basis of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Society, and specialists of the Moscow Philharmonic Society generously shared their experience in broadcasting academic music from concert halls. .
At the beginning of the year, when the Grand Orchestra Prize “440 hertz” announced the acceptance of applications, the final ceremony was supposed to be a large-scale event with an invitation to St. Petersburg for the winning orchestras. Due to the circumstances involved, it had to be held in a much more modest way, the day after the final meeting of the jury. In the presence of guests and the press, the envelopes with the names of the winners were opened, everything was broadcast live and the awards -elegant transparent figurines with the award logo- were sent to homes.
Among more than three dozen applications submitted (and in the country – about a hundred symphony orchestras) there were well-known Russian groups, and the geography of the competition, even for the first time, impressed with its coverage: 18 Russian regions, cities from Belgorod to Yakutsk. The absence of the best metropolitan orchestras (with the exception of the Moscow “Musica Viva”) did not cancel the intrigue, but allowed the jury to recognize two well-known regional leaders – Kazan and Yekaterinburg orchestras, and the achievements of many Russian ensembles. , including the orchestra of the Astrakhan Opera. In the nomination “Conductor” the winner was Alexander Sladkovsky with the program of the orchestra of the Republic of Tatarstan conducted by him, and for the broadcast of this concert (nomination “Broadcast Quality”) the award was received by the Tchaikovsky Hall of the Moscow Philharmonic. Violinist Gaik Kazazyan, who performed with the Tomsk Symphony Orchestra, was lucky to become the first laureate in the “Solo with orchestra” nomination. The jury recognized the Chelyabinsk program “Prokofiev” (director Adik Abdurakhmanov, presenter – Yulian Makarov) as an “event”. The “Word about Music” nomination went to Artem Vargaftik, the “Accompaniment” nomination went to Anatoly Levin and the Moscow Conservatory Orchestra, and the “Guest” nomination went to English pianist George Harliono, who performed with the “Live Music” orchestra. The same Moscow orchestra and conductor Alexander Rudin stood out in the nomination “Stylistic Accuracy of Performance.” Almost the main nomination “Symphonic Concert” went to the Ural Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Dmitry Liss. The out-of-competition nomination “Patron” also went to Yekaterinburg, it was received by Vladimir Cherkashin, director of the Charitable Fund for Support of UAFO.
Art contests, as you know, cause a lot of controversy and discussion, but no one has canceled the love for tournaments of various kinds and competitive excitement. After the first cycle, one can expect the new “440 hertz” award to increase prestige and attract the attention of a broader audience to the important and spiritually valuable, but, whatever one may say, elitist field of academic music.
Nadezhda Markaryan, music critic, expert:
– There are only two types of art, where contact with the public occurs here and now, where a contemporary always “speaks” to a contemporary. This is theater and musical spectacle.
However, the theater was luckier. Performances are repeated on its poster. And on the poster of the philharmonic – no. That’s why symphonic culture has long been sidelined by expert attention and national award participation. The situation changed with the broadcasts, which became part of the concert process. They extended the life of the symphony program, and the musical performance was finally awarded its “Golden Mask”. She became the “440 Hertz” Orchestral Grand Prix. The high level of performance of the best orchestras in the Russian capitals is a well-known fact. But that the regions are rich in excellent orchestras, that so much creativity has gone into creating original programs, was completely unexpected for me. As well as how many teams wanted to participate in the competition. The number thirty-six in the first year seems to me an indication of the need for such a bonus.
Results of the Orchestra Grand Prix “440 hertz”
Concert hall. PI. Tchaikovsky Moscow State Academic Philharmonic for broadcasting a concert of the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Republic of Tatarstan, September 23, 2021
A word about the music
Artem Vargaftik in the program of the Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Nizhny Novgorod State Academic Philharmonic. Rostropovich on the day of the 115th anniversary of Dmitri Shostakovich
Program “Prokofiev” from the cycle “Words and music for you.” Host: Yulian Makarov. State Symphony Orchestra of the Chelyabinsk Region conducted by Adik Abdurakhmanov
solo with orchestra
Gaik Kazazyan for his performance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in the program of the Tomsk Academic Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mikhail Granovsky.
George Harliono for his performance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in the Moscow Chamber Orchestra’s program “Musica Viva”
Anatoly Levin and the Concert Symphony Orchestra of the Moscow Conservatory in the program with graduates of Professor Dorensky’s class
Alexander Sladkovsky in the program of the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Republic of Tatarstan on the stage of the Concert Hall. Tchaikovsky, September 23, 2021
Alexander Rudin and the Moscow Chamber Orchestra “Musica Viva” with a program in the Moscow Concert Hall “Zaryadye” December 14, 2021
Ural Academic Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Dmitry Liss with a program dated November 22, 2021
Nomination out of competition
Patron – Vladimir Alekseevich Cherkashin
For many years of service to the art of music (posthumously) – Natalia Moiseevna Vilner, Alexander Moiseevich Skulsky
Special Jury Diplomas
For Mastery of the Ensemble: To the Soloists of the Woodwind Ensemble of the Belgorod State Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra for their performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade in the program on April 9, 2021.
For symphonic culture – Chief Conductor of the Belgorod State Philharmonic Rashit Nigamatullin.
For creative individuality – the State Symphony Orchestra “Symphonica arctica” (Yakutia).
For the originality of the program – the Program “1941”, dedicated to the symphonic works of 1941, the Tomsk Academic Symphony Orchestra.
For the high quality of the symphony program of the Opera – Symphony Orchestra of the Astrakhan State Opera and Ballet Theater, chief conductor – Valery Voronin.