Menuhin Competition Beijing 201204-12 14:28 Caijing
Competitions have long occupied a bitter spot in musicians’ hearts. For young artists, a medal can secure a contract or a conductor’s attention; at the very least, contestants prepare copious repertoire and practice playing under pressure. On the other hand, it’s hard to rank art by numbers. Some players are rewarded for fast fingers, while others burn brightly but briefly. The Menuhin Competition takes a different approach: one of travel and friendship. Under the UK Now umbrella, this month it brings concerts, masterclasses and eager young violinists to Beijing.
Named after legendary pedagogue Yehudi Menuhin, the competition hosts students under 16 (juniors) and 22 (seniors), who see this as a learning experience, not a career make or break. Menuhin holds its biannual events in foreign cities, housing contestants with local families. This not only affords them international exposure, home-cooked meals and a dedicated cheering section, it allows non-finalists to remain for the classes and concerts, instead of booking the dreaded early flight home.
Better still, at Menuhin, the ‘losers’ get their own recital, though Beijingers may be more interested in the top-draw concerts, as Chinese violin luminary Lv Siqing (pictured left) and Time Out favourite Ning Feng join Tasmin Little for the Opening Concert (Friday 6 April). Later, Joji Hattori, Olivier Charlier and Henning Kraggerud link up with the China Philharmonic Orchestra for the Violin Trilogy Concert (Thursday 12 April). Finally, conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier leads the NCPA Orchestra with Dong-Suk Kang, Vera Tsu Wei Ling and prize-winners for the Closing Gala (Sunday 15 April). For the full Menuhin experience, check out some rising stars in the finalists’ concerts; otherwise, enjoy ten days of some of the world’s finest fiddlers.
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