Ida Kavafian: How are Competitions Beneficial?

June 2, 2016, 10:00 AM · One of the special perks of playing in the Montreal International Violin Competition is the Lobster Dinner tradition, in which violinist candidates, jury, board members, administrators and journalists spend an evening at the country home of Montreal International Musical Competition President AndrĂ© Bourbeau in Dunhum, Quebec. The idea is to socialize, enjoy a beautiful setting, eat lobster and let off a little stream after the pressures of the competition.

Of course, there's still some pressure; after the final rounds on Monday and Tuesday, the finalists won't know who won until tonight's Gala; and the top three will then have to play! Even the jurors, who voted separately from each other and were under instructions not to discuss the candidates with each other, will not know the exact placement until their tallied results are announced tonight.

Speaking of jurors, here is a little chat I had with Ida Kavafian about competitions. Are they worth it? Why do we do this? Here is what she had to say:

And here are a few more scenes from the lobster dinner and from Montreal: Finalist Bomsori Kim took this excellent selfie of us:

Laurie and Bomsori Kim

Here is another shot of this idyllic farm on this idyllic spring day:

red buildings

It's lovely to see that the violinists who do these competitions often know each other, or get to know each other, and are good friends. Here a group of them tests out the trampoline they found out by the horse pasture!


Here is finalist Ayana Tsuji of Japan, with her father.

Ayana Tsuji and father

And if you like horses and country scenes:



Earlier in the day, I took advantage of the ridiculously perfect weather and climbed to the top of Mt. Royal, the mountain after which "Montreal" is named. Here I am at the top:

Mt. Royal

And apparently an upright piano also made the climb, it was sitting right in the middle of the plaza atop Mt. Royal!

piano on Mt. Royal

Stay tuned for the announcement of the laureates in the Montreal International Violin Competition, which will be announced tonight at 8 p.m. ET.


June 3, 2016 at 08:43 PM · Wasn't it Kreisler who said, "Horses, women, the violin, treat them all gently" (as opposed to the old Chinese proverb "Horses and Women, you can beat them both")?

Do I gather correctly that the piano was taken up there by people not belonging to the world famous and highly skilled Laurel and Hardy team?

June 3, 2016 at 09:53 PM · The piano atop Mt. Royal is no Steinway, but what a neat thing to do with an old upright. I saw kids playing around with it, and it's kind of nice to have that sound in the air, too!

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