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Jennifer Volby

Competition Perspective

September 8, 2006 at 2:20 AM

This would be the first time I have ever written a *blog* in my life, but I am inspired to share while listening to the competition via the internet this evening :) First, I would like to mention how thrilled I was to see that not only could you watch the competition live via streaming, but also on demand, at any moment in time! A hugh thank you to all the wonderful people that run the competition for making this possible for friends, families, and fans around the world!!

I take a very special and personal interest in this competition, and the perspectives I wanted to offer are coming from a different angle for all you fellow violinist's out there. I am a violinist, and after graduating from CIM, I was very fortunate to end up working in the small office that ran the Cleveland International Piano Competition for 5 years, helping to run 3 international *piano* competitions (2001, 2003 & 2005). (And yes, a violin professor of mine has joked about why a piano competition and not violin!) I've had first hand experiences in just about all aspects of the international competition scene, from the detailed work of receiving and organizing the applications, documents and videos to traveling internationally to run the "live auditions", to managing the back stage area where all the contestants have to pass, to eating and chatting during the down time with all of them. The piano competition and the violin competition are very similar in design down to using the same scoring system, and as I have watched (and been glued to my computer when not working or practicing). I have been thinking not only about how fantastic the music is but also about everything that is probably going on back stage before each contestant walks out on stage. When I worked back stage, I saw everything from contestants puking in the bathroom while the audience waited an extra minute (and she was a very high finisher in the end!), to contestants who ask for hugs to relieve their stress before walking on stage to others who wander and don't even want you to say a word to them. Everyone is different, and the audience would be amazed by the reality of the stresses behind-the-scenes! As you watch all the contestants, I would encourage you to use your imagination a little to think about where some of them are traveling from, and what their lives are like in countries far away from the states. What some go through to make it to the states and the competition is beyond what I could have ever imagined before working so closely with the pianists. Just making it to the preliminary rounds is probably the biggest thing to ever happen in some of their lives, and will fuel their future careers, and for others, this could be their last hurrah before joining the rest of us violinists :) (That is a little of a joke, I certainly think they all have brilliant futures if they choose)

I have a difficult time picking favorites in any competition so I won't start critiquing all the performances but instead I enjoy individual performances of all the violin repertoire. How often will you be have the opportunity to listen to so much music like this :) Above all else, I think all the violinists are incredible to be at this level!!

Congratulations and Cheers :)

From Jennifer Volby
Posted on September 8, 2006 at 2:22 AM
OH, yes - one more little comment! I also wanted to mention that as you watch, remember the *smallest* margin score-wise can separate the winner from someone who is even 15 places behind. So for all of you that find your favorite contestant eliminated, know they are probably not far behind the future winner of the competition!
From Terez Mertes
Posted on September 8, 2006 at 1:15 PM
Jennifer - I just love your backstage perspective - thanks so much for sharing it! And how interesting, your added comment about how little can separate the winner from the guy in 15th place. Good food for thought...

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