Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists
Menuhin Competition logo.jpg
Formation 1983 (1983)
Founder Yehudi Menuhin
Purpose Classical music competition
Artistic Director
Gordon Back
Joji Hattori
Zamira Menuhin-Benthall

The Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists (or simply the Menuhin Competition) is an international music competition for violinists under the age of 22. It was founded by Yehudi Menuhin in 1983 with the goal of nurturing young violinists. In its early years, the competition took place in Folkestone on the south coast of England. Since 1998, it has been held biennially in different cities around the world. Several of the competition's past laureates, including Julia Fischer, Tasmin Little, and Nikolaj Znaider, have gone on to major international careers.[1]


A member of the European Union of Music Competitions for Youth (EMCY),[2] the Menuhin Competition runs every two years, each time in a different city with the support of local sponsors. Recent competitions have been live-streamed on the Internet.

Ziyu He, Senior First Prize winner in 2016.

The competition is open to violinists of any nationality under the age of 22. The competitors are pre-selected by video recording and compete in three rounds during the actual competition. There is a required repertoire, which is chosen by the competition's organizers. However, the competitors also play a virtuoso violin work of their own choice as part of the semi-finals. In the first round, each competitor is also given a four to eight bar phrase on which to improvise for three minutes.[2][3]

In later years the required repertoire and the gala concerts have included new works especially commissioned for the competition or works closely associated with the host country. At the 2010 Oslo competition, the previously required works by Paganini were replaced with works by the Norwegian violinist and composer Ole Bull to mark the bicentenary of his birth.[4] The 2008 competition in Cardiff saw the world premiere of Welsh composer Mervyn Burtch's Elegy for King Arthur.[5] The 2014 Austin, Texas competition included two world premieres of Texas-themed works: Donald Grantham's Black-eyed Suzy and Dan Welcher's The Cowboy and the Rattlesnake.[6] The three commissioned works premiered at the 2016 London competition were John Rutter's Visions, Roxanna Panufnik's Hora Bessarabia and Òscar Colomina Bosch's Shpigl.[7][8]

In the Senior category cash prizes are awarded to the top four places, while in the Junior category (under 16 years old) cash prizes are awarded to the top five places. There are also a number of individual cash prizes. These include the Bach Prize for the best performance of Johann Sebastian Bach's violin works, donated in memory of Robert Masters, the founding Director of the Yehudi Menuhin School. The First Prize winner in the Senior category also receives a one-year loan of a "golden age" Stradivarius violin. The First Prize winner of the Junior category receives a one-year loan of a "fine old Italian violin".[2]

The 2016 competition had 44 competitors—37 girls and seven boys.[1] The top four prizes in the Senior category were won by young violinists from China, South Korea, and Taiwan. The top prize-winners in the Junior category were from the United States, South Korea, Sweden, and Germany.


Yehudi Menuhin, the competition's founder and namesake.

The competition was founded by Yehudi Menuhin and Robert Masters, who had been instrumental in the founding of the Yehudi Menuhin School. The competition took place for the first time in 1983 at Folkestone on the south coast of England and was based there for its first 15 years with Menuhin himself conducting master classes for the competitors. Following a three-year gap after the 1995 competition, it resumed in 1998 at Boulogne-sur-Mer on the French side of the English Channel and returned to Folkestone in 2000.[9] At the inauguration of the first competition, Yehudi Menuhin said:[10]

Our young gifted violinists will be the ambassadors of goodwill, for they come with pure hearts and music in their souls. It is in those younger people that we invest our future.

After Menuhin's death, the pianist Gordon Back, who had been the competition's accompanist since its founding, took over the Artistic Directorship of the competition, expanding the program into a festival format with the competition taking place amidst concerts, master classes, and education and outreach events. The competition also began moving its venue to a different international city each time.[11][12] From 2002 to 2014, the competition was held in:

In 2016, the 100th anniversary of Menuhin's birth, the competition returned to London, where once again it was based at the Royal Academy of Music, with its gala concerts held at the Royal Festival Hall.[7][15] According to the competition's official website, the 2018 competition is to be held in Geneva, Switzerland.[16]


The Menuhin Competition is operated by the Menuhin Competition Trust, a UK-registered charity.[17] Its President is the Japanese violinist and conductor Joji Hattori. The trust also has close ties to the Menuhin family. Yehudi Menuhin's daughter Zamira Menuhin-Benthall is its Life Patron and his grandson Aaron Menuhin serves as one of the Trustees.[18]

The competition's Artistic Director is the pianist Gordon Back.

As of 2016, the Chair of the Jury is the American violinist Pamela Frank who has held the post since 2012. Past jury members have included Maxim Vengerov, Dong-Suk Kang, Arabella Steinbacher, Ray Chen, Jeremy Menuhin, Julia Fischer, and Tasmin Little.[11][19][20]

Notable laureates[edit]

Julia Fischer, Junior First Prize winner in 1995 and member of the 2016 competition jury.

Past laureates who have gone on to international careers include:[21]

  • Jiafeng Chen (Senior category 2nd prize in 2008)
  • Ray Chen (Junior category 3rd Prize, 2004 and Senior category 1st prize in 2008)
  • Julia Fischer (Junior category 1st Prize in 1995)
  • Ilya Gringolts (Junior category 6th Prize in 1995)
  • Joji Hattori (Senior category 4th Prize in 1987 and Senior category 1st Prize, Bach Prize, and Audience Prize in 1989)
  • Daishin Kashimoto (Junior category 1st Prize in 1993)
  • Tasmin Little (Senior category 3rd Prize in 1983 and Senior category 2nd Prize in 1985)
  • Lara St. John (Junior category 4th Prize in 1985)
  • Nikolaj Znaider (Senior category 5th Prize and Audience Prize in 1991)

As both Erica Jeal (the Guardian's music critic) and Gordon Back (the competition's Artistic Director) pointed out, winning the First Prize is no guarantee of a major career, and sometimes those who have become internationally renowned were not First Prize winners.[12][15]

Previous prize winners[edit]

Prizes are awarded in two categories: Senior for violinists aged 16 to 21, and Junior for violinists under the age of 16. Violinists aged 15 are permitted to enter the Senior category if they wish. The Senior category awards cash prizes to the top four places, while the Junior category awards cash prizes to the top five places. (Prior to 2002, the competition also awarded 6th, and on occasion 7th, prizes in the Junior category.) As of 2016, the 1st prize in the Senior category was £10,000 and the 1st prize in the Junior category was £5,000.[2] There are also a number of special prizes and awards.[22]

Senior category[edit]

Year 1st Prize 2nd Prize 3rd Prize 4th Prize
2016 China Ziyu He South Korea SongHa Choi Taiwan Yu-Ting Chen South Korea Jeein Kim
2014 United States Stephen Waarts South Korea In Mo Yang United States Christine Seohyun Lim United States Stephen Kim
2012 United States Kenneth Renshaw South Korea Ji Eun Anna Lee United States Alexi Kenney China Siyan Guo
2010 China Xiang Yu United States Nigel Armstrong Australia Suyeon Kang South Korea Ji Won Song
2008 Australia Ray Chen China Jiafeng Chen Russia Evgeny Sviridov United States Stella Chen
2006 Armenia Hrachya Avanesyan United States Robin Scott China Shuai Shi South Korea Sulki Yu
2004 South Korea Hye-Jin Kim Uzbekistan Daniel Khalikov South Korea Je Hye Lee Japan Yusuke Hayashi
2002 South Korea Soyoung Yoon Japan Rintaro Omiya Netherlands Simone Lamsma Ukraine Maksim Brylinski
2000 Japan Akiko Ono China Feng Ning Russia Viatcheslav Chestiglazov China Chen Gu
1998 Australia Susie Park Japan Akiko Ono Russia Boris Brovtsyn China Xu Yang
1995 United States Lisa Kim Romania Corina Belcea South Korea Yoo-Kyung Min Russia Zhanna Tonaganyan
1993 Czech Republic Gabriela Demeterova Ukraine Alina Komissarova Serbia Italy Stefan Milenkovic Hungary Marta Abraham
1991 -- China Qing Guo Soviet Union Evgeny Andrusenko Austria Birgit Kolar
1989 Japan Joji Hattori China Yuan-Qing Yu Poland Bartlomiej Niziol United States Karen Lee
1987 West Germany Elisabeth Glass United States Elisa Barston China Zheng Qing Japan Joji Hattori
1985 China Xiao-Dong Wang United Kingdom Tasmin Little China Liang Chai United Kingdom Abigail Young
1983 China Taiwan Leland Chen Netherlands Isabelle van Keulen United Kingdom Tasmin Little China He Hong Ying
Other prizes
Timothy Chooi, winner of the 2014 EMCY Prize and the 2010 Violin Prize.
  • 2014: EMCY Prize – Canada Timothy Chooi
  • 2012: EMCY Prize – United States Kenneth Renshaw
  • 2012: Bach Prize – Singapore Gabriel Ng
  • 2012: Composer's Prize – China Victor Zeyu Li
  • 2010: Violin Prize – CanadaTimothy Chooi
  • 2008: Bach Prize – Russia Evgeny Sviridov
  • 2006: Composer's Prize – Japan Samika Honda
  • 2006: Outstanding Performance in Semi-Finals – Romania Dragos Mihail Manza
  • 2006: Outstanding Performance in Semi-Finals – Netherlands Mathieu van Bellen
  • 2004: Chamber Music Award – United Kingdom Anthony Sabberton
  • 2002: Composer's Prize – Ukraine Anna Savytska
  • 1995: Audience Prize – United States Lisa Kim
  • 1995: President’s Prize – United States Lisa Kim + Russia Natalia Lomeiko
  • 1995: Bach Prize – Russia Zhanna Tonaganyan
  • 1993: Audience Prize – Czech Republic Gabriela Demeterova
  • 1991: Bach Prize – China Qing Guo + Soviet Union Eugeny Andrusenko
  • 1991: Senior 5th Prize – Denmark Nikolaj Znaider
  • 1991: Audience Prize – Denmark Nikolaj Znaider
  • 1989: Bach Prize – Japan Joji Hattori
  • 1989: Audience Prize – Japan Joji Hattori
  • 1987: Bach Prize – West Germany Elisabeth Glass + China Zheng Qing
  • 1987: Audience Prize – United States Elisa Barston
  • 1985: Bach Prize – China Xiao-Dong Wang
  • 1985: Tunnicliffe Prize – China Xiao-Dong Wang
  • 1985: Audience Prize – United Kingdom Abigail Young
  • 1983: Bach Prize – China Taiwan Leland Chen
  • 1983: Audience Prize – Netherlands Isabelle van Keulen
  • 1983: Senior 5th Prize – Poland Dorota Siuda
  • 1983: Senior 6th Prize – United States Micha Sugiura

Junior category[edit]

Year 1st Prize 2nd Prize 3rd Prize 4th Prize 5th Prize 6th Prize
2016 United States Yesong Sophie Lee United States Japan Kevin Miura Sweden Johan Dalene South Korea NaKyung Kang Germany Anne Luisa Kramb --
2014 Japan Rennosuke Fukuda Sweden Daniel Lozakovitj Norway Ludvig Gudim United States Alex Zhou Korea Jaewon Wee --
2012 United States Kevin Zhu South Korea Soo-Been Lee Japan Taiga Tojo Australia Grace Clifford South Korea Yehun Jin --
2010 Canada Kerson Leong United States Stephen Waarts South Korea Ji Eun Anna Lee Japan Taiga Tojo United Kingdom Callum Smart --
2008 United States Chad Hoopes Russia Dmitry Smirnov United States Mindy Chen China Ke Zhu South Korea Seohyun Lim --
2006 Japan Sunao Goko Japan Fumiaki Miura Taiwan Yu-Chien Tseng United States Robyn Bollinger United States Stella Chen United States Sirena Huang
2004 United States Joel C. Link South Korea Danbi Um Australia Ray Chen
South Korea Yoo Jin Jang
-- United States Esther Kim --
2002 Japan Chiharu Taki South Korea Yyun-Su Shin Germany Markus Tanneberger United Kingdom Poland Jennifer Pike Japan Saki Shirokoji Russia Alexandra Korobkina
2000 South Korea Japan Mi Sa Yang Russia Alina Ibragimova Japan Naoto Sakiya Belgium Yossif Ivanov South Korea Hye Jin Kim South Korea Ja Ram Kim
1998 China Zhi-Jiong Wang Belarus Oleg Yatsina Russia Mikhail Simonian Japan Mayuko Kamio Germany Sophie Moser South Korea Yoon Jung Cho
1995 Germany Julia Fischer France Jeanne de Ricaud Poland Piotr Kwasny Japan Teruyoshi Shirata Uzbekistan Daniel Khalikov Russia Ilya Gringolts
1993 United Kingdom Daishin Kashimoto Russia Italy Igor Malinovsky China Wei Wei Le Canada Yi Jia Hou Russia Natasha Lomeiko Japan Akiko Ono
1991 Singapore Ning Kam China Wen-Lei Gu United States Jennifer Koh Israel Yonatan Gandelsman Japan Natsuko Yoshimoto United States Mona Marie Knock
1989 United States Livia Sohn France Sylvie Sentenac China Mu Na United States Jennifer Koh China Ye Sha Poland Krzysztof Baranowski
1987 China Dong Qun Poland Bartlomiej Niziol United Kingdom Suzy Whang Japan Ryotaro Ito United States David Chan United States Carla Kihlstedt
1985 China Chang Guo West Germany Elizabeth Glass Canada Scott St. John Canada Lara St. John United Kingdom David Le Page United Kingdom Chwan-Liang Lee
1983 China Xiao-Dong Wang China Zheng-Rong Wang China Le Zhang United Kingdom Julian Shevlin China Lu Siqing United States Eunice Lee
Other prizes
  • 2012: Composer's Prize – United States Kevin Zhu
  • 2010: EMCY Prize – Norway Guro Kleven Hagen
  • 2008: Composer's Prize – South Korea Yu-Ah Ok
  • 2002: Chairman’s Special Prize - United States Esther Kim
  • 1995: Junior 7th Prize - Australia Sally Cooper
  • 1991: Audience Prize - United States Jennifer Koh
  • 1989: Audience Prize - United States Livia Sohn
  • 1987: Audience Prize - United Kingdom Suzy Whang
  • 1985: Audience Prize - Canada Scott St John

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b Miller, Joe (15 April 2016). "Highly strung: What does it take to win the Menuhin Competition?". BBC. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d European Union of Music Competitions for Youth. Menuhin Competition. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  3. ^ Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists (2016). Application Information. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  4. ^ a b Tripodianos, Maria (8 January 2010). "Menuhin Competition 2010". Ole Bull 200th Anniversary ( Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  5. ^ a b Evans, Rian (16 April 2008). "Menuhin Competition". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  6. ^ University of Texas, Austin. (22 January 2014). "Bringing an American Flavor to the Menuhin Competition". Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  7. ^ a b Clements, Andrew (8 April 2016). "Philharmonia/Yamada review – moments of insight in Menuhin Competition curtain-raiser". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  8. ^ Kjemtrup, Inge (19 April 2016). "Report from the Menuhin Competition". Strings. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  9. ^ a b c Les Échos du Pas-de-Calais (27 March 2006). "Boulogne-sur-Mer accueille le concours Yehudi-Menuhin". Retrieved 14 May 2016 (in French).
  10. ^ Jolly, James (15 January 2014). "The Menuhin Competition returns to London in 2016". Gramophone. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  11. ^ a b c Green, Andrew (18 March 2016). "Coming home: the Menuhin Competition returns to London". Classical Music. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  12. ^ a b Niles, Laura (14 February 2014). "Gordon Back and the History of the Menuhin Competition". Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  13. ^ Qian, Mu (26 April 2011). "Beijing to host Menuhin Competition". China Daily. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  14. ^ Thompson, Damian (22 March 2014). "Menuhin is the world’s toughest violin competition. Why is it packed with Asians, and no Brits?". The Spectator. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  15. ^ a b Jeal, Erica (18 April 2016). "Menuhin competition: young talent and hints of greatness to come". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  16. ^ Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists. About. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  17. ^ Charity Commission for England and Wales. The Menuhin Competition Trust, Charity no. 284467. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  18. ^ Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists. The Trust. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  19. ^ Classic FM (2008). "Playing to the Jury!". Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  20. ^ Quinton, Luke (3 March 2014). "Menuhin Violin Competition: A critic's wrap-up and review". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  21. ^ All Menuhin Competition prizes in this list are sourced from: Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists. Laureates Archives. Retrieved 14 May 2016
  22. ^ All results in these sections are sourced from: Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists. Laureates Archives. Retrieved 14 May 2016

External links[edit]