The Violin Channel recently had a chat with Marcus Meyer, Management Director of the Kloster Schöntal International Violin Competition.
Tell us about the Kloster Schöntal International Violin Competition. When was the competition founded and by whom?
The Competition was founded in 1989 by Professor Petru Munteanu who had just discovered the old monastery by coincidence a year before driving through the countryside. He was more or less flashed by the illuminated church at night and thought this could be the right place to hold masterclasses.
What would you say was the original mission of the event? Is it still the same today?
The original goal was to give advanced students access to lessons with different professors within a few days. The original team realized that receiving advice from different professors might be more fruitful than just studying with one. With that in mind, a little campus situation was created.
The idea of discovering young talents at an early stage and promoting them within a comprehensive framework is still the main mission of Kloster Schoental's Competition. Healthy competition between talents leads to good results, but it is more important to learn from each other than to compete. The old walls of the Monestry are a perfect surrounding for this concept and Schoental is a very inspiring place.
Who are some of your past prize winners who have gone on to have distinguished performance careers?
Over the years, we have had very good talents who went on to have international careers. One of the first winners was Axel Strauß who won the Naumburg Violin Competition in New York, was a professor in San Francisco, and is now a professor at McGill University in Montreal. He will be part of the Jury this year. The international performing Latvian violinist Baiba Skride is also a big name who came out of our competition. Additional awardees include Volkhard Steude and Albena Danailoval, who are both concert masters at the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
Why was the monastery chosen to hold the competition? What unique elements does the venue bring to the overall experience for the candidates?
As mentioned before, the monastery is a very inspiring place. It can be used for seminars and has the infrastructure of a small hotel, so it is the perfect place for a violin competition. Everything is nearby and there is always an exchange between the participants, the jury, other professors and experts, and the audience. Plus, it is far from traffic jams, the noise of a big city, etc. It is surrounded by woods and the river Jagst flows quietly along... very inviting for little walks!
What will this year’s category prize winners receive? Can you tell us about the number of special prizes awarded this year?
The first prizes are 1'500 EUR at Age Group 1, 2'000 EUR at Age Group 2, and 3'000 EUR at Age Group 3.
On top of this and not connected to any age group, the participant who gains the most points over the three rounds will receive the Reinhold-Wuerth-Promotion-Award for further education remunerated with 5.000 EUR.
The prizes for the best interpretations in each work group are 300 EUR each. Those special awards can be received on top of any other prize.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s competition?
As it seems, there will be no COVID-19 restrictions anymore. That means, we can focus on the music and the communal spirit that arises during the competition. Seeing the young talents from all over the world making music together warms up our hearts every time.
If young musicians are interested in applying how can they do so?
The application deadline has been extended to June 15th. All information and the online application form can be found on http://www.violinwettbewerb.de.