With the 2016 Menuhin Competition Final round due to commence this evening, VC recently caught up with a number of former prize winners to get a better understanding of their time at the competition – and the opportunities the biennial event has presented.
2010 Senior 3rd Prize Winner, VC ‘Young Artist’ Suyeon Kang, from Australia guest blogs about her eventful experience.
“The 2010 Menuhin competition was a very memorable one for many reasons.
I was one of the lucky few that arrived before the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano- which was the cause of a couple of competitors and jury members having to sadly give up their participation due to delayed or cancelled flights to Norway.
Our first prize winner, Angelo, was actually stuck in Iceland for days before he knew he could finally fly to Oslo on the last day of the first round!
It was probably also thanks to this calamity that the atmosphere of the competition was so special. Already before the rounds commenced there was an unusually extraordinary level of collegiality and support between the competitors- something I remember with much fondness even to this day.
I was 21 at the time, my second time at an international competition, and having been notified that I had been selected from the reserve list about two and a half months months prior to the event, I went with very few hopes of even getting past the first round. Being a relative newcomer to the field of international violin events I also had little idea of what is expected of a competition prize winner- I just prepared myself as best I could at the time, took a big breath and played- which is, at the end of the day, the best you can do anyway!
Understandably, it was with a sense of shock when I somehow managed to reach the finals. It was four of us in the senior finals- Angelo, Nigel, Jiwon and I- and there was such a level of friendliness and genuinity between us that it was kind of like preparing for a final concert rather than a run for the top prize. I think I was dead nervous on the day of performance but I was blessed with two wonderful host parents who managed to convince me I was made of better stuff than jello after quite a display of impressive pep-talk.
It wasn’t my best performance, but I gave it my all and I was honoured to be placed third.
Since 2010 I have entered a few more competitions, all of which have been special in their own way. I’m not a fan of the idea of competing, nor am I the most naturally blessed person when it comes to this kind of preparation or mentality. However, I do think you can always get something positive out of a competition- it’s a challenge you set for yourself and it’s a feat just to arrive on day one with something to offer- regardless of the outcome.
The Menuhin competition was a chance for me to meet and listen to some incredibly talented young musicians, and amongst the competitors there are a couple that have remained dear friends to this day.
I remember some pretty great music-making: great variety and different musical voices from all around the world. And most of all I remember the fun I had. I think the memories of this event will stick around for quite a while.