Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the gala concert of winners of the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition.

In Thursday’s (6/29) New York Times, Javier C. Hernández writes, “The International Tchaikovsky Competition, one of the world’s most prestigious music contests, is typically a bustling, Olympics-style gathering that every four years brings talented young pianists, violinists, cellists, singers and others from around the globe to Russia. But as the storied competition unfolds this month for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine and became a pariah in the West, it is struggling to live up to its reputation. The contest, which is organized and financed by the Russian government, was expelled from the international federation of music competitions because of the war. Contestants and jurors from the United States and Europe are scarce. A streaming deal that drew millions of overseas viewers has been terminated. And, amid a crackdown on free speech, the foreign press corps representation is less robust, save for journalists from nations friendly to Russia, including China…. More than half the musicians competing this year—128—are from Russia; in 2019, they made up just a little more than a third of the contestants. And the number of Chinese contestants has more than quintupled, to 48 from nine in 2019.”