Chess News

Alekhine Memorial – Vadim Repin to perform at opening ceremony

Vadim Repin, one of the world’s most famous and popular musicians, will give a concert at the opening of the Alekhine Memorial Chess Super-Tournament, which will take place on 20 April in Paris. Vadim Repin will join with pianist Nikolai Lugansky to perform a programme of works by Sergei Rachmaninoff for piano and violin.

“It’s a great joy to perform some rare works composed by Rachmaninoff for piano and violin, in this year, the 140th anniversary of the composer’s birth, at the opening of the tournament in memory of the great chess master”, said the musician. “Rachmaninoff’s lifetime, like that of Alekhine, coincided with a period of incredible historical shocks, and this was reflected in both their art and their life, which were at the same time spectacular and tragic. Despite spending a considerable part of their lives outside Russia, they both felt an unbreakable link with their homeland to the end of their days. The power and sincerity of Rachmaninoff’s music still excites and delights millions of people who listen to it, captivating them with its beauty and the truly Russian breadth of its melodies.”

Like Nikolai Lugansky, Vadim Repin has long been a fan of chess. Speaking of his decision to support the Alekhine Memorial, Vadim Repin said: “Chess has always been very popular among musicians: one recalls the match between Oistrakh and Prokofiev which took place at the Moscow Conservatory, and Prokofiev’s friendship with Botvinnik and Capablanca. Dmitri Shostakovich was a big fan of chess. There are lots of examples – in the musical world chess has always been seen as part of the culture.”



The Alexander Alekhine Memorial, organised by the Russian Chess Federation at the initiative and with the support of entrepreneurs Gennady Timchenko and Andrei Filatov, will feature the world’s best chess players – world champion Viswanathan Anand, former champion Vladimir Kramnik, World Cup holder Peter Svidler, Levon Aronian, Boris Gelfand and other outstanding grandmasters.

This major international sports and cultural event will take place in Paris and St Petersburg – two cities with close ties to the maestro – between 21 April and 1 May 2013.

Contacts for journalists:
Mark Gluhovsky
Alekhine Memorial press officer
tel. +7 (915) 412 7709,


Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873–1943)

Outstanding Russian composer, pianist and conductor. Graduate of the Moscow Conservatory. Lived in Russia until December 1917, and then abroad (France, USA). Rachmaninoff retained a deep spiritual connection with his homeland until the end of his life.

The composer’s work was profoundly Russian, entirely governed by Russian imagery, tonal echoes of Russian melody and the traditions of the Russian musical classics in organic combination with the best achievements of Western European music.

He was born on 20 March 1873 in a noble family. At the age of nine years he was given a place at the St Petersburg Conservatory in the junior piano class. In 1885 he transferred to the Moscow Conservatory. It was in the senior department of the conservatory that Sergei Rachmaninoff first met Pyotr Tchaikovsky, who was to say: “I predict a great future for him.” At the age of 18 he completed his piano studies brilliantly. A year later, in 1892, he graduated from the conservatory in composition.

For his final exam Rachmaninoff presented the one-act opera Aleko (based on Pushkin’s poem The Gypsies), which was staged in the Bolshoi Theatre a year later. The musical world greeted him as a mature artist. From the age of 19 Rachmaninoff worked as a composer and performer, and from 1900 he performed concerts in Russia and abroad.

Rachmaninoff’s Moscow period ended in 1917 – the composer and his family did not return to Russia after a foreign tour. In 1918 he moved to America, where he achieved the greatest ever success for a foreign performer on US soil.

After leaving his homeland, to the end of his days he experienced a profound inner drama. “When I left Russia I lost my desire to compose. Without my homeland, I lost my self…”, he would say. Rachmaninoff remained a Russian composer to the end of his life. During the Second World War Rachmaninoff gave several concerts in the USA and sent the proceeds to the Soviet Army Fund. “I believe in total victory”, he wrote.

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