Friday night, Moscow hosts the presentation of the first international Rachmaninoff piano contest, to run in Pasadena, Calif., March 22 through April 6. Pianist Nikolai Petrov, Russian co-chairman of the jury, said at a preview press conference that the contest will be held by Russia's Culture Ministry and a number of American organizations. For the U.S., the jury will be co-chaired by the pianist Byron Janis. Some 30 pianists of any nationality and of ages 18 to 30 will be selected for participation in the Rachmaninoff contest. Twelve of them will then be chosen to compete in the second round, and six will be left for the finals. The best three performers will be awarded Rachmaninoff prizes. Sergei Rachmaninoff's grandson, Alexander, has instituted the top prize, worth 30,000 dollars. The winner of the first prize will get an opportunity to give recitals at the Carnegie Hall and at the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, as well as to make an international concert tour and to record a CD. The second and the third prizes, worth $20,000 and $15,000 respectively, also envisage appearance in concert and recording activity. The idea to hold the contest has been suggested by Alexander Rachmaninoff. The United States has been chosen as the venue as it was here that the great Russian musician spent the last years of his life. "I want to build a bridge of friendship between the East and the West, between Russia and the U.S., and Rachmaninoff is a symbol of friendship and peace between our nations," his grandson explained. The Rachmaninoff contest will involve not only competition proper, but also some fringe events, such as a performance in Pasadena of the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Vladimir Fedoseyev.