Kuldiga – one of the oldest Latvian towns that is known with its rich musical traditions allready since 17th century. As a first capital of Kurzeme Dukedom Kuldiga then had its court musicians and musical director.
Exploring the history of our town and trying to find the link joining cultural processes of past, present and future, we found it necessary to raise to an honourable position the fact that on 3rd (14th) March, 1838 in Kuldīga in doctor Julius Davidov’s family the youngest son Kārlis Davidovs was born, who later on was well-known in music history of Europe and Russia. He received good musical education in Moscow University working with several famous music pedagogues and became an outstanding cellist, a talanted composer well-known not only in Europe but around the world, a beloved professor in Leipzig and St.Petersburg Conservatoires.
Today Kārlis Davidovs is well-known as the founder of Russian cello school and a teacher of many famous musicians. To honour our outstanding countryman in April, 2000 the 1st K.Davidov’s international cellists’ competition was held in Kuldīga.
The aim of the competition is to assembe young and talanted participants and popularize a cello as an instrument. The great number of foreign cellists participating in the competition proves its necessity. Since the beginnings of the competition young cellists from Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Germany, Georgia, Thailand and Belorus have participated. The general rules and programme of the competiton are worked out in cooperation with Latvia Music Academy cello school pedagogues. Since the first competition its patroness has been a well-known cellist and music pedagogue, J.Vītol’s Latvia Music Academy cello professor Eleonora Testeļeca.
The competition is organized by E. Vīgner’s Kuldīga Music School in cooperation with Kuldiga District Council. The competition is judged by competent, professional, international jury. Since the beginning Competition is supported by Latvian Ministry of Culture and has become a culture event of a national importance.
The reward fund of the competition is raised every year and it is provided by Kuldiga Town Council. The reward fund is dividend between laureates of four groups. Additional prizes for the best interpretation of Bachs (provided by Leo Maijs family) and Davidovs compositions are awarded during the competition.
Karl Davidov - a legendary cellist, composer and teacher was born in March 3 (14), 1838 in Kuldīga, Latvia (at that time the town was known as Goldingen). His father Julius Davidov was a doctor- pediatrician, a well-educated man. He was very good amateur violinist who often played in his spare time.
Davidov was one of the most outstanding performers of his time, a cello virtuoso who ranked high among other the19th century musicians in Europe and Russia. He was also a talented composer, conductor and Professor of St. Petersburg Conservatoire since its foundation, the founder of Russian cello school and a teacher of many well-known musicians. Davidov was also The Tsar family’s court soloist, teacher of Tsar Nikolaj’s I son Konstantin Romanov. In 1870, Count Wilhorsky, a patron of the arts, presented Davidov a Stradivarius cello made in 1712. This cello, now known as the “Davidov Strad”, is currently owned by cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
Davidov had regularly performed in Russia since the age of 14, and went on tours around Europe performing together with such famous musicians as composers K. Saint-Saens and F. Liszt, Spanish violinist P. Sarasate, V. Safonov, A. Rubinstein, H. Bilov, D. Popper, F. Gruezmacher, and others.