April 7, 2012 at 2:13 PMBEIJING -- I arrived in my hotel in Beijing less than an hour before the reception yesterday at the Menuhin Competition, but I am so glad I made it. (By the way the web stream for the Menuhin Competition can be found at this link: http://www.menuhincompetition.org/webeam.html It begins today!)
It was surreal to see so many world’s finest violinists in one room. Whether it is the years of very hard working or something special about the instrument they devote their life to, these famous artists are some of the most real and humble people I’ve met.
The Opening Concert was also a great success. It started with the exciting Enescu's Rhapsody for orchestra, performed by the China Youth Symphony Orchestra. Then a number of previous prize winners performed solo pieces, such as Mozart Violin Concerto No. 5 (Xiang Yu) and Bartok's First Rhapsody (Ning Feng). I am a big fan if Ning Feng (a fellow v.comer), and I think his Bartok was exquisite and full of love carried out by his superb technique. I met him during the reception before his performance. What a nice guy! His new biography was published last month in China. I can’t wait to read it. I’m also hoping to get a chance to interview him some day.
Today is the first half of the senior round one. There are a few very fine competitors with Zeyu Li and Andi Zhang on top of my favorite list. The audience is very warm and supportive. They were first told not to clap but the audience couldn’t help themselves, so after a few hours, the panel relaxed the rule. I’m also impressed by a few quite young (look like 5-7 years old) kids in the audience, sitting there for hours quietly and cheerful. You can’t force young kids to love music like this.
Now if anyone is to argue with me about the value of violin competitions, I only need to remind them that they should keep their mind open and mouth closed until they’ve participated in one of these international events.
After the first day, Alexi Kenney is clearly in a class of his own.
Only wished the quality of the videos was better...
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