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A Night to Remember: Queen Elisabeth Finals Begin with William Ching-Yi Wei and Tobias Feldmann

Heather Kurzbauer

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Published: May 26, 2015 at 12:12 AM [UTC]

Off and running the finals of the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition 2015 got off to a blazing start with the young Taiwanese violinist William Ching-Yi Wei taking center stage. Indulge the writer and join in for a brief recapitulation of just a few of the contest's many splendors. Travel down the cobbled streets of old Brussels, wend your way towards the 'Mountain of the Arts' and after marveling at the amazing variety of chocolate stores and even more impressive collection of museums you find yourself facing Horta's monumental Bozar concert hall. Crowds throng to the competition, animated conversation in French and Flemish permeate the halls and continue til the wee hours at a plethora of pubs and restaurants nearby.

Blessed by a legacy of royal patronage, the affection borne towards the monarchy is repeated each evening as the audience stands and applauds the royals before the lights dim. Whether prince or pauper, the violin occupies the minds and hearts of a city where bartenders and hotel porters voice opinions concerning 'their' favorite contestants.

The contrast between the opening night candidates was difficult to ignore. While Tobias Feldmann seemed at home on stage, Wei was noticeably uncomfortable and although his technical level deserves kudos, he did not seem ready to take on the musical challenges of Shostakovich's monumental First Concerto. One might wonder why a 20 year old accomplished violinist who has not trained on the competition circuit would enter the Queen Elisabeth at this time. Nerves of steel and a solid routine of performance under pressure are basic for successful, communicative performances in the rarified atmosphere at the top.

Feldmann exuded confidence and unflappable nerves---after breaking a string at the very end of the first movement of Bartok's Second Concerto, he returned triumphantly to sing through the heat-wrenching Andante Tranquillo. A night to remember.

From Bram Heemskerk
Posted on May 26, 2015 at 10:57 AM
"Feldmann exuded confidence and unflappable nerves---after breaking a string at the very end of the first movement of Bartok's Second Concerto.."
I reminds me of the semi's of Maria Milstein in 2012 which I heard live. She hit her bridge but could play on with her dislocated bridge. First I thought she had broken her E-string (like Mathieu van Bellen in the national violin competition). The moment in the video is on 8.20 minutes.

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