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NO BLUE RIBBONS IN TCHAIKOVSKY COMPETITION

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A demanding jury of former winners refused for the first time to award first prizes in piano, violin or cello in the prestigious Tchaikovsky international competition.

Second prize for piano went to Nikolai Luganski, 22, of Russia, who played Tchaikovsky's Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor and Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 3 in D-minor in the finals.It was the 10th Tchaikovsky competition and the first in its 36-year history in which the jury consisted entirely of former winners.

Previous juries have declined to award first prizes - once in violin and once in the piano competition - but not in the same year. In the cello section, the jury this year also awarded no second, third or fifth prizes.

Fourth place in the cello went to 24-year-old Elleen Moon of New York.

In violin, 17-year-old Jennifer Koh of Chicago shared second place with Anastasia Chebotareva, 21, of Russia.

Second prize winners were awarded $4,000.

The finals were held in the grand hall of the Moscow state conservatory, a room with a soaring ceiling dominated by a 15-foot-high portrait of 19th century Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky. The walls are lined with portraits of other great composers like Bach, Brahms and Schubert.

Sharing third prize in the piano competition were Vadim Rudenko, 21, of Russia, and Paik Hae Sun, 29, of South Korea. There was also a tie for fourth place, with Xu Zhong, 25, of China, and Alexander Gindin, 17, of Russia, sharing the prize. Alexander Shtarkman, 26, of Russia, won fifth prize.

The jury declined to award a sixth prize.

Koh also received an award for best Tchaikovsky performance by a violinist, a special artistry award and an award for being the youngest performer in the finals.

"I'm happy to have played for the people. I think that's the most important thing: to play for the audience," she said with a huge grin.

Both she and Chebotareva played Brahms and Tchaikovsky concertos.