On October 31, 2019, the Menuhin Competition Richmond 2020 concluded its application period and now begins the selection process to determine which participants will gather in Richmond, Virginia from May 14-24, 2020. In total, the Menuhin Competition Richmond 2020 received applications reflecting 39 nationalities, residing in 32 countries across five continents.
With a pre-selection jury comprised of Gordon Back, Artistic Director of the Menuhin Competition; Simon Blendis, violinist and Concertmaster of the London Mozart Players; and Alf Richard Kraggerud, acclaimed violin pedagogue, the Menuhin Competition Richmond 2020 received a record total of 321 applicants, reflected by 152 (47%) at the Junior level (ages 15 and under) and 169 (53%) at the Senior level (ages 15-21), each of whom will be carefully reviewed in order to select the top 44 competitors (22 Junior and 22 Senior). The final selection of violinists will be notified and announced in January 2020.
"I am thrilled that we have a record number of applications for the Menuhin Competition Richmond 2020,” said Mr. Back. “We have received entries from the top conservatories and music schools around the world, as well as new applications from Albania, Egypt, Macedonia, Thailand and the UAE. The standard is staggeringly high and it will be an extremely difficult task to choose the 44 competitors out of the 321 who have applied. Menuhin would have been delighted that his idea of the Competition being a truly stimulating environment for young violinists is reaching an ever wider audience."
For a detailed breakdown of applicant nationality and residence, please view the end of this release.
The greatest number of applicants report American residency and nationality, potentially indicating both enthusiasm for the 2020 Menuhin Competition’s chosen hometown of Richmond, Virginia, as well as the United States’ reputation for developing many of the world’s most outstanding classical musicians. Of the 131 American residents, 10 come from the Commonwealth of Virginia, further highlighting a US region with a particular appreciation and demand for fine arts at the highest level.
“The City of Richmond welcomes the arts with open arms, and we’re thrilled to be hosting the 2020 Menuhin Competition,” said Richmond Mayor Levar M. Stoney. “We’re looking forward to sharing our progressive and inclusive city with these exceptional musicians from around the world, and to the fine performances they will bring to the competition with our talented young artists from Virginia and across the U.S.”
The number of applications from young people aged 10 years old or younger has doubled. In the previous competition in Geneva 2018, eight applicants were aged 10 or younger, while the youngest applicants this year are 8 years old (2), with seven applications from 9-year-olds, and seven from 10-year-olds. This suggests a significant trend towards more applicants of a very young age, which is also represented by the age at which applicants began studying the violin, with 63.86% beginning between ages 3 and 5, and the age at which applicants made their first public performances (70.4% between ages 5 and 8). This uptick in very young violinists is notable as it indicates that students with mastery of exceptionally advanced repertoire is increasing on a global scale.
In addition to the statistical data which informs the Menuhin Competition and Trust about the applicants and demographic trends across the various competition years, the application offers the musicians the opportunity to contribute more personal information which sheds light on their relationship to violin repertoire, whether their families are also musical, their practicing habits, and other items. The responses highlight the deep emotional connection children and young adults develop with their instruments, a tremendous range of beloved repertoire, great pride in representing a particular nationality, immense inspiration by the world’s great violinists, and sheer joy in having the ability to communicate through music.
For the full list of events and to purchase tickets, please visit: https://2020.
About the Menuhin Competition Trust:
The Menuhin Competition is the world’s leading international competition for young violinists, held every two years in a different city (most recently in Geneva in 2018, London in 2016, Austin, Texas in 2014, Beijing in 2012 and Oslo in 2010). Founded by Yehudi Menuhin in 1983 the Competition attracts hundreds of entries from over 40 countries, choosing only 44 of the world’s very best young violinists to participate. The Competition discovers, encourages and nurtures exceptionally talented young musicians from all corners of the globe under the age of 22 to develop into the next generation of great artists.
As one of Yehudi Menuhin’s most valuable legacies, the Competition continues to uphold his status as a cultural ambassador and true world citizen by creating an exceptional family atmosphere of learning and exchange. Collaborative in its spirit, the focus is placed on participation and learning rather than winning the 1st Prize.
Creating a stimulating environment in which talented young violinists may learn and grow has always been and will remain at the heart of the Menuhin Competition. This is not limited to the Competition period and the Menuhin Competition Trust strives to provide prizewinners with a variety of performance opportunities to develop their musical careers.
About Richmond Symphony:
Celebrating its 61st Season in 2018-19, the Richmond Symphony is the largest performing arts organization in Central Virginia. The organization includes an orchestra of more than 70 professional musicians, the 150-voice Richmond Symphony Chorus and more than 260 students in the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra programs. Each season, more than 200,000 members of the community enjoy live concerts and radio broadcasts. The Symphony also provides educational outreach programs to over 55,000 students and teachers each year. The Symphony was recently named one of 21 American orchestras selected as a leader in orchestra innovation by the League of American Orchestras through its Futures Fund Initiative. The Richmond Symphony is partially funded by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Visit www.richmondsymphony.com for more information.
United States of America (USA): 111
China (including Hong Kong/Macau): 53
Korea, Republic of (South Korea): 34
Canada, Great Britain: 7 (each)
France, Italy, Norway, Spain: 6 (each)
Russian Federation, Switzerland: 5 (each)
Austria, Denmark, Netherlands, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine: 2 (each)
Albania*, Brazil, Czech Republic, Egypt*, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico, North Macedonia, Republic of*, Slovenia, Sweden, Thailand*: 1 (each)
Total: 363 (reflects applicants with multiple nationalities)
Applicant Country of Residence:
United States of America (USA): 131
China (including Hong Kong/Macau): 42
Australia, Germany: 19 (each)
Korea, Republic of (South Korea): 16
Great Britain: 11
Austria, Norway: 6
Canada, Russian Federation, Switzerland: 5 (each)
France, Italy, Spain: 4 (each)
Singapore, Netherlands, Ukraine: 2 (each)
Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt*, Finland, Georgia, Latvia, Mexico, Romania, Thailand*, Turkey, United Arab Emirates*: 1 (each)
Total 321 100.00%
*New countries and nationalities represented in the applications are: Albania, Egypt, Macedonia, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates.
Who or what inspired you to play the violin?
“When I was young, I spent two days a week with my Aunt who always played Bach and Vivaldi on my Great Grandmother’s violin, I was about 4 when I started to ask if I could learn, it wasn't until 6 1/2 that I had my first lesson. My first teacher, Sarah, completely inspired me and still does.” -Female, 15, Australia
“When I moved to Germany from Italy, I could not speak German and I felt I was alone. Some of the kids in my class could play an instrument. I thought that I could play an instrument too to be together with them. I chose the violin because of its voice, very similar to the voice of a kid. The list of the violinists I like most is long. It includes Ray Chen, Janine Jansen, Maxim Vengerov, Itzhak Perlman, Gil Shaham but also Yehudi Menuhin, David Oistrakh, Ruggiero Ricci and Henryk Szeryng.” Male, 14, Germany
What is your favorite thing about playing the violin?
“I think the violin is the most similar instrument to the human voice. I am kind of shy and quiet, but whenever I play the violin on stage, I become the happiest girl because the violin can make me the most beautiful opera singer.” Female, 11, South Korea
“The feelings that I can put into my playing are my favorite part about the violin. Whenever I perform, I can tell a story to any audience about anything I desire. To do this has made me want to play even more for years to come.” Male, 14, United States
What inspired you to apply to the Menuhin Competition?
“Something that inspired me to apply to the Menuhin Competition is the urge to push myself out of my comfort zone, push my limits and experience something new. Whether I succeed in it or I don't, there is always a learning experience left behind for me.” Female, 13, United States
“Having the chance to take part in the most well-known international violin competition in world and meet a lot of great young violinist to become friends with.” Male, 12, Australia