George Harliono Win Silver in Russia

After British-Indonesian classical pianist George Harliono’s appearance at the Padma Musical Series held at the Padma Resort Legian on 01 June 2023, he flew to Russia to fulfill an invitation to compete in The International Tchaikovsky Competition, long-considered to be among the world’s most prestigious music competitions. 

Held quadrennially in Moscow and St. Petersburg, The Tchaikovsky Competition pits talented young international pianists, violinists, cellists, and singers – all vying for honors and cash prizes.

Criticism of the continuing Ukraine – Russian conflict presented problems for this year’s competition in assembling an international panel of jurists and entrants. Despite any obstacles, the competition went ahead when 742 applicants were winnowed down to 236 contestants. Of this group, the majority were Russians, with only four Americans (15 in 2019), one from Germany (8 in 2019), and none from Ukraine (3 in 2019).

Cultural Diplomacy

Despite calls for a boycott of this year’s Tchaikovsky Competition because of the Ukraine conflict, the event remains the very model of cultural diplomacy dating from its inception in 1958 when American Van Cliburn’s victory during the height of Cold War tensions proved that art can genuinely transcend politics. Over the intervening decades, Russia’s international relations have largely resembled a political roller coaster passing through, in quick succession, the international space race, the erection of the Berlin wall, the Cuban missile crisis, the Prague Spring, Soviet-Chinese border clashes, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, a U.S. Boycott of the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics, 1974 downing of B-747 Korean Air flight by the Soviet Air Force, the 1989 dismantling of The Berlin Wall, the 1991 referendum on the reform of the Soviet State, a series of coup attempts, Glasnost and the Chechen War, 

In 2023, despite a call for a boycott, the 2023 Tchaikovsky Competition continued according to plan, with the results in the piano division as follows:

  • First Prize and Gold Medal – Sergei Davydchenko (Russia).
  • 2nd Prize and Silver Medal – George Harliono (United Kingdom), tied together with Angel Stanislav Wang (USA) and Valentin Malinin (Russia).
  • 3rd Prize and Bronze Medal – Stanislav Korchagin (Russia), tied with Ilya Papoyan (Russia).
  • 4th Prize and Diploma -Suah Ye (South Korea), Xuanyi Mao (China).

In the final round of competition in St. Petersburg, George Harliono performed Rachmaninov’s Concerto no 2 in C minor, Op. 18 and Tchaikovsky’s Concerto No. 1 in B♭ minor, Op. 23.

George commented on social media that he was “really happy to have been awarded the silver medal at the XVII Tchaikovsky Competition.” In the final round of competition held in St, Petersburg, George Harliono performed with the Mariinsky Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Valery Gergiev.

Welcoming the news of George’s triumph in the Tchaikovsky Competition, Anny Soerjanto, patron of the Padma Musical Series, said: “After George’s outstanding performance in Bali, we were delighted to hear of his Silver Medal win at The Tchaikovsky Competition. His victory again underlines that Padma Musical Series features top-quality international artists. Warmst congratulations to George Harliono.”

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