The Violin Channel recently caught up with violinist Elmar Oliveira, Founder & Artistic Director of the Elmar Oliveira International Violin Competition - set to be held at the Lynn University Conservatory of Music in Boca Raton, United States from 14th to the 26th of January, 2020.
Elmar, why was it important for you to start this competition?
"As a way to give back ... A way to do my part in actively supporting the next generation of talented violinists, that goes beyond giving money and a title.
This is why the EOIVC—in addition to a monetary prize—offers its first prize winner artistic management, public relations services, community engagement and networking opportunities and guaranteed performances on stages all across the globe. And all of this is in addition to a new instrument, a bow and a violin case.
In my mind all of these things are invaluable!"
What is your main mission for hosting your own violin competition - and what do you hope to achieve?
"In short, to provide young violinists a strong foundation of support that we can build a successful and sustainable career upon. A career that reaches beyond the concert hall and has an impact on and engages with the community.
In other words, I just don’t want to open the gate to a one-dimensional career. I want help guide violinists down a solid path and to inspire them to be meaningful and to give back along the way"
How important do you feel competitions are for launching a young musician’s performance career?
"Very. And I might be a bit biased here. I myself won the Tchaikovsky Competition and have enjoyed quite the career because of it.
But competitions aren’t just about winning this title or that money. They are about making connections and being seen and heard by some of the most highly-regarded movers and shakers in the industry. This is very important.
Even though you may not win every time you step into a competition, having important eyeballs on your playing is just as important, if not more so.
Getting feedback from industry leaders is priceless"
There are many competitions today and many 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize winners, what do you feel are the differentiating elements that propel some young musicians to a successful and sustainable performance career?
"Being adaptable and ready for anything. Being able to play beyond just the notes. Being able to listen to the orchestra you are performing with and being a partner to that orchestra or pianist if you are doing a collaborative recital. Being able to engage with your audience and give back to your community.
These are the things that have made our inaugural winner, Sirena Huang, such a success. She has all of this in spades, and this is what we will be looking at for our next winner"
How do you feel your competition is different to others and what initiatives do you have in place to maximize your laureates opportunities for success?
"Presenters these days aren’t just looking for violinists who can play a concerto, they are looking for artists that can connect with their audiences and communities.
We are seeing this with presenters across the board and especially with those who have signed on to host our EOIVC 2020 winner, which is a global list of over 25 and growing!
We are one of the few—if not the only—competition to incorporate community outreach in its competition proper, which makes us very unique and relevant.
We have a special Community Engagement prize that is given in addition to the other monetary prizes"
How important is fairness and transparency in your voting process? What initiative do you have in place to ensure an unbiased result?
"There is nothing more important. Nothing. I believe in transparency, in fairness above all else when it comes to the EOIVC.
Not only do we post all our results online throughout the competition, we have a very strict recusal process. Any violation or misrepresentation on a disclosure form is immediate dismissal of a competitor or judge. Period.
We take this very seriously.
Teachers do not judge students. I do not judge any competitors either. Anyone who has taught or given a masterclass to a competitor within one year of the competition may not judge that competitor.
While this, especially at this level, may complicate things, there are no exceptions. None"
If someone wants to apply for your 2020 competition, how should they go about this?
"Through our website — elmaroliveiraivc.org — competitors can apply directly.
In addition to the application, there is a wealth of information on our site about the repertoire, rules and regulations, how to submit a video, and ways in which the EOIVC supports competitors in getting to and while they are in Boca Raton through travel stipends, travel vouchers and host families.
All submissions and the application fee must be received no later than 11:59PM EST on September 27.
Seriously, if you are thinking about entering one competition this year, this should be the one!"
VC YOUNG ARTIST SIRENA HUANG | TCHAIKOVSKY VIOLIN CONCERTO | GUILLERMO FIGUEROA & LYNN PHILHARMONIA | 2017 ELMAR OLIVEIRA INTERNATIONAL VIOLIN COMPETITION | 1ST PRIZE