Two Swiss stars competing
Unusually, two Swiss musicians will be competing to raise their national flag at the 2018 Menuhin Competition. Here are their profiles.
A musical career was an obvious choice for this Swiss-Japanese 21 year-old: "As both my parents are professional musicians, I was immersed in this world from birth." Born in Zurich, where she spent the whole of her childhood, Sumina Studer began studying the violin at only five years old. Progress was quick and there followed an array of distinctions including the Swiss Youth Music Competition which she won three times, but also success in international events including the Michael Hill, the Louis Spohr and the Arthur-Grumiaux competitions.
Having left the family home aged 17, she went to Berlin where she now works as a soloist. At the Hanns Eisler Music Academy in Berlin the young musician perfects her art with a Lorenzo Storioni violin, named after the 18th century master luthier from Cremona, Italy, also the town of Stradivarius. In addition she has performed with orchestras such as the Camerata de Zurich and her talent has led her to become known outside Europe, in Japan, her second country of origin in which she has never lived.
There was no clear path for Anatol János Toth however, who has just turned 14. His mother is simply an amateur musician and his father doesn't play at all. He came to the violin by himself at the age of three. "He wanted to play even earlier, but we had to put on the brakes," remembers Peter Toth, his father. Since then, his parents have left him free to gauge his commitment, practising between three and five hours a day depending on how he feels. Far from having an exclusive interest, this talented musician, who is fond of nature and hiking in forests, is also one of the best Swiss chess players of his generation.
It was his violin skills, however, which led him to make a name for himself as a young boy. He won 1st Prize with distinction at the Swiss Youth Music Competition four times (solo and duet categories, accompanied by his sister) as well as another first place in the German competition. At the age of nine, with his family still living in Spain, he was already the first violinist of an orchestra comprising the best young musicians in the Basque Country. He now aims to become a soloist and to perform with a symphonic orchestra in Switzerland, where his youth has long been an obstacle.