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From the Joachim Competition: Final Round Closes

Heather Kurzbauer

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Published: October 10, 2015 at 12:46 AM [UTC]

Shion Minami, a lovely apparition in purple took a muscular approach to Korngold’s Hollywood potpourri. An exemplary performer with the ability to project her ample sound to the very last row in the hall, Minami is indeed all about projection and articulation. Every phrase is punctuated and played with a great sense of urgency: the ebb and flow of the oft-saccharine score was missing in action. Relaxation and contemplation especially at the end of long phrases are not part of the accomplished violinist’s musical vocabulary. An artist performing at such an impeccable level will undoubtedly grow to discover the joys of longer phrases and the wit that lies so close to the surface in the emigrant composer’s nostalgic blend of middle European forms with America’s sassy slapstick. The ‘ain't necessarily so’ blues that extinguish the slow movement were impeccable in terms of control yet clueless in terms of musical antecedents. The closing movement was dashed off with great élan.

Just 17, Ayana Tsuji is an artist of consummate taste and persuasive musical power. Her g-string passages burned with inner fire, octaves were freed from the box of pure technical exercise and each and every phrase was treated to a special ending in order to make room for the subsequent musical idea. Tsuji’s second movement could open the gates of a rainbow-infused heaven while the atavism that inspired her third movement brought listeners to the edge of their seats. The great discovery at this year's contest comes in the form of a diminutive phenomenon: Ayana Tsuji.

Finalists

Richard Lin’s rendition of the Korngold Concerto was the special treat accorded to the audience at the end of an exemplary contest. Clad like a Hollywood lad, the master of silvery tone production introduced a cadre of characters in his convincing performance. Moving the score onwards and upwards to a level where Mahler meets Mickey, Lin deserves a top prize. Wizard of Oz references in the third movement did not escape this intelligent musician and his second movement showed sensitivity to Korngold’s ethereal orchestration.

Thanks to the wonders of streaming, the last two finalists will continue to enchant and motivate. (Performances can be viewed on the competition's website: Click here to listen to the latest performances and click here to view archived performances.

Competitions are not for racehorses as the frequently cited adage pronounces: torchbearers Tsuji ,Lin and Marquise Gilmore have shown that a superlative event is like a window that opens onto a world of great art.

The audience roared its approval for four favorites: Dogadin, Marquise Gilmore, Tsuji and Lin. The jury awarded the top prize to Dogadin, third prize to Lin and a surprising 4th and 5th prize respectively to Marquise Gilmore and the most astonishing talent, Tsuji. Tomorrow night’s closing will bring word concerning the Special and Audience Prizes while as midnight melts into the wee hours many are still puzzling the second prize awarded to a temperate rather than temperamental player.


From Simon Streuff
Posted on October 10, 2015 at 2:50 PM
Its the "Prof. Krzysztof Wegrzyn competition". His students seem to have noticeable advantages. Even if they study just half a year with him. The competitors are putting his name into a good light and win certain advantages. Fair deal!?

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