Aram Khachaturian Cello Competition: Day 6

Today is my penultimate day in Yerevan. That means just two more videos.

The one below features my post-competition thoughts about the last two finalists to perform earlier this evening. The final one will be the result. The result is announced during the Gala Performance tomorrow night. 

My day started with an unexpected request from a jury member asking to join me for breakfast. I normally have a strict rule about eating alone at breakfast. But when the request comes from the jury champion with a softly lilting Armenian accent, it’s very difficult to say no. So I didn’t.

We both of us deftly avoided talking about competitors or the performances, instead settling on the neutral subject and shared experience of mothers and pensions. Unsurprisingly breakfast was complete within 15 minutes.

My final two interviews with the competitors were scheduled for around lunchtime. That gave me just enough time to listen to some of the rehearsals and run a first edit of one of three podcasts I want to produce from this trip, before heading down to the nearby Lavash Restaurant. There I met up with one of the Media Types for a late lunch comprising Armenian cheese, roasted veal, Armenian pasta (‘ arishta’), and one piece of what appeared to be a giant vanilla slice (see below).

I took the opportunity to share some vital English phrases with the Competition guide who has accompanied us over the past few days. I look forward to her using the phrases “Okey Dokey” and “Tip Top”. It certainly was a hoot hearing her practise them.

The Armenians lunch later than the UK. It’s two o’clock at the earliest, pending other engagements. What that means in practise is that since the meal is so filling at lunch, you’re unlikely to want to eat in the evening. But it also rather oddly carves up the day – making everything a bit of a mad dash before an early evening engagement.

The good news (for me at least) is that there’s a podcast waiting for a final listen through tomorrow morning, then some note transcriptions and an article to draft. I want to get that done by lunchtime if I possibly can so that I can have some free-time in the afternoon to get to a museum I really want to go to.

I’m actually looking forward to going home. This is absolutely no judgment on the people who have hosted me – they are friendly, efficient, warm and accommodating. I have loved the experience.

But, contrary to what you might be thinking, this isn’t really a holiday. The days are busy here. I know I have a tendency to cram too much into my working day which means I end up going to bed late and getting up late too.

The dail y videos have been fun to do and surprisingly effective (I’ll write more about that in a future post that reviews the visit) but it’s easy to forget the time they take to make. The filming part is pretty swift and straightforward. It’s the editing, encoding, and labeling that’s a little soulless and time-consuming.

In that way, I’m quite relieved its coming to an end and I can head back to London with the ‘series’ complete. Having said that I wonder whether it might all get a bit emotional tomorrow night at the post-concert dinner at which, I have it on good authority, the President of Armenia will be present. Had better put a tie on just for good measure.

Watch all of the daily reports from the Aram Khachaturian Cello Competition in this YouTube Playlist.

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