A conductor at the Tchaikovsky Competition has apologised for allegedly insulting the nationality and racial origin of an Armenian competitor.

Mark Gorenstein was rehearsing the Svetlanov State Symphony Orchestra of Russia prior to performing with cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan, when he appeared to refer to the competitor as an 'aul' (a word denoting a small village in the mountains, but which could be construed as demeaning). His remarks were captured on film, and were picked up and reported by journalists present.

An official statement from the organising committee later appeared on the competition website, condemning Gorenstein's remarks as 'insulting'.