May 2012
Tiomkin piano improvisation competition in Kremenchug, Ukraine

Dimitri Tiomkin

A competition for young pіanіsts, named in honor of Dimitri Tiomkin, will be held in Kremenchug, Ukraine on May 16 through 18 as a part of the second annual International Jazz Festival (“Energy”). Olivia Tiomkin will appear on the large projection screen at the City Palace of Culture to welcome and greet the audience at the gala concert on May 18.

The competition aims to promote the music of Kremenchug’s native son, Dimitri Tiomkin. Born in Kremenchug in 1894, Tiomkin found international fame as a film composer in Hollywood. In addition to popularizing Tiomkin’s music, the competition’s goals are to support talented young pianists and promote improvisation and jazz. Tiomkin developed an interest in jazz during his student days in Russia and further delved into the field while living in New York in the 1920s. One of his first concert works for solo piano was “Quasi Jazz.”

READ: Fascinating Rhythms: Dimitri Tiomkin, African American Music, and Early Jazz

City Palace of Culture, Kremenchug

The Ukrainian competition, open to pianists age 16 to 30, will take place in three rounds. To qualify, candidates must submitt a ten-minute video demo of an improvised composition by May 9. Selected participants will move on to compete in round two. In the second round the Organizing Committee will supply the pianists with music for three Dimitri Tiomkin compositions. Each participant will choose one Tiomkin piece to improvise upon along with a second improvised composition of the performer’s choice. In round three the finalists will perform the Tiomkin competition theme issued after the results of round two, along with either an improvisation of one of the three Tiomkin compositions or an improvised composition of the performer’s choice.

READ: Dimitri Tiomkin and all that jazz (May 2012 blog)

The first, second, and third place winners of the third round of the competition take part in the gala concert on May 18 in the Big Hall of the City Palace of Culture, Kremenchug (pictured, above). Rounds two and three will include public performances in the Small Hall of the Palace of Culture. A lottery will determine the order of performance. The final places and prizes will be announced at the final session of the jury.

Vladimir Solyanik

Serving as jury chairman is pianist-improviser Vladimir Solyanik, a professor at the R. Glier Kiev Institute of Music and emeritus artistic director of the Koktebel Jazz Festival. The distinguished members of the jury include Peter V. Poltarev, Vladimir P. Smolyakov, and Olga Y. Gorbach.

Poltarev is a musicologist, jazz critic, director of the Kiev School of Jazz and Variety Arts, and chairman of the council of experts in jazz music at the Ministry of Culture.

Smolyakov is a composer; the director of the Kremenchug Music School No. 3 named in honor of composer Mikhail Kalachevsky; artistic director and conductor of Slavutych, a folkloric song and dance ensemble; and chief conductor of the Kremenchug Municipal Brass Band.

Gorbach is a pianist-improviser, a senior lecturer in piano, head of the piano department of School of Art No. 5 in Kiev, and director and producer of the popular Ukrainian jazz-band JT-Fresh.

Peter Poltarev

Olga Gorbach

Vladimir Smolyakov

The top five competitors will receive prize money paid in Ukrainian Hryvnia, as follows. First place UAH 4000 (approximately 500 U.S. dollars or 300 British pounds), second place UAH 2500, third place UAH 1500. Two round three finalists will receive UAH 500 each. The jury has the option of awarding a special prize of UAH 300 for an impressive performance of a Dimitri Tiomkin composition to a second round contestant who did not pass to the final.

The event is a municipal project underwritten by the city of Kremenchug. The piano competition was organized by the Kiev School of Jazz and Variety Arts and the school’s director Peter Poltarev. The founders and organizers include the Department of Culture of Kremenchug town council; the Kremenchug Territories Development Agency, a public benefit organization; and Apple Jam, a local jazz band.

The Tiomkin competition follows on last year’s highly successful celebration of Tiomkin’s music in Kremenchug.

READ: Tiomkin Days in Kremenchug

Invited participants will pay an entry fee of UAH 100. Although participants must arrange transportation to Kremenchug, the Organizing Committee will provide each participant with overnight accommodations and two meals per day.

For more information, contact the organizers at


May 16, 2012 (Wednesday)
9:00 to 13:00 Arrival of participants, registration, rehearsal, press conference.
15:00 Grand opening ceremony. Round II begins.
16:30 Break
17:00 Round II continues
19:00 Jury meeting, followed by announcement of Round II results.

May 17, 2012 (Thursday)
9:00 to 17:00 Rehearsal
17:30 Round III
19:00 Break
19:30 Round III continues
20:30 Jury meeting, followed by announcement of Round III results.

May 18, 2012 (Friday)
18:00 Gala concert, with performances by the contest winners (first, second, and third prize)
22:00 Jam session, with performances by the contest winners


This entry was posted in 2012 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.