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Arts District: Arts America

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The last person with a Cleveland connection to take home honors from the international Tchaikovsky Competition was violinist Jennifer Koh in 1994, who was then studying at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. Held every four years, the contest has — especially in its early years — launched legendary careers: pianists Van Kliburn, Grigory Sokolov and Vladimir Ashkenazy, and violinist Gidon Kremer all have top honors in the Tchaikovsky competition on their resumés. Recent years have not seen the same standard of competition, and so, in its 51st year, recently appointed chairman Valery Gergiev hopes to reinvigorate the event with a new organizing committee and a first-ever commitment to booking concert engagements for winners — not just in Russia but elsewhere in the world, including with the London Symphony Orchestra.

The 14th Tchaikovsky Competition will be held June 14–July 2, 2011, in Moscow. Application forms, repertoire and rules are available at tchaikovsky-competition.com. Applications — including a DVD recording of a 50-minute recital — are due by December 1, 2010. Who knows: Maybe some musician at the Cleveland Institute of Music or Oberlin or Baldwin Wallace is poised on the verge of an international career.

You'd need a second travel guide to tell you about hotels and dining, but the book Arts America (Huntington Press, 2009, editors Jeffrey Compton and Norma Foote) wants to be a kind of traveler's companion, targeted at the person who's interested in sampling the cultural offerings at noteworthy arts destinations around the United States. It's hierarchical, beginning with New York and followed by the next largest producers of visual and performing arts: Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, DC. Cleveland makes an appearance along with 15 other cities in a second tier, ranking with Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston and Pittsburgh. But the local listings are spotty at best. They have the Cleveland Orchestra but not baroque-music gem Apollo's Fire or the region's internationally known conservatories. Dobama Theatre gets a nod but not Beck Center for the Arts. The defunct Bop Stop makes the music-venue list, as do Pier W and Brothers Lounge but not Nighttown or the Beachland Ballroom. Of course, they include the Cleveland Museum of Art — but not MOCA, SPACES or any other gallery. For the New Year, we wish travelers looking for a guide to the arts in America had better tools than this.

mgill@clevescene.com

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