Let's go!

A unique moment

by Matthieu Hoffstetter

Under the patronage
of a genius

In 1983, the gifted violinist Yehudi Menuhin founded the Menuhin Competition. The famous performer established this Competition, designed to discover and support young, talented musicians, in order to bring to light the virtuosos of the future, through the 'Olympics of the Violin', but also to encourage dialogue between the array of contributors from around the world. Every two years, young musicians under 22 years old come to a designated city to perform various works over an 11-day period in some exceptional sites, both in public and, more importantly, before an expert jury.

The latter comprises nine members, all of whom are renowned musicians and some former prizewinners of the Competition. They include Joji Hattori, who won the Menuhin Competition in 1989 and went on to follow a career as both a violinist, in demand by the greatest ensembles (in particular the Vienna Chamber Orchestra), and an acclaimed conductor (the Balearic Symphony Orchestra). Born in Japan, this Austrian by adoption praises the 'educational aspect of the biennial festival which the Menuhin Competition has taken on'.

Heading up the jury is the American Pamela Frank, whose solo violin performances with the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as well as the Berlin Philharmonic have gone down in history. She also highlights what makes this Competition so special: "The Menuhin Competition really is one-of-a kind: it feels more like a festival than a competition, and it is ultimately a celebration of the violin. It reminds us all that the real winner is music itself."

Alongside these two experts will be other renowned musicians such as Maxim Vengerov, Ilya Gringolts, Lu Siqing, Itamar Golan, Josef Špaček, Soyoung Yoon and Henning Kraggerud.

Klara Gronet, a Polish young talent, 15 years old, finalist of Menuhin Competition 2016.

A nomadic

The Menuhin Competition may be hanging up its hat and its violin cases in Geneva in Spring 2018, however since 1983 the most talented musicians have been roaming the world. Following several British and French stages in the 1990s (in Folkestone and Boulogne-sur-Mer respectively), various major cities worldwide have since had the privilege of hosting the event: Oslo in 2010, Beijing in 2012, Austin in 2014 as well as London in 2016, to name but a few of the recent host cities. This decision to hit the road and stage the event in a new city every two years illustrates the ambition of the charity which manages the event founded by Yehudi Menuhin: to go beyond borders and build bridges between cultures, countries, talents and characters. In this way, it reflects the unremitting work that the gifted Menuhin tirelessly championed throughout his life.

Gordon Back

Aaron Menuhin

The contestants the winners
Next article