VC INTERVIEW | Paul Roczek on the Zhuhai International Mozart Competition for Young Musicians

In light of the unpredictability of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Artistic Committee of the competition decided that the 4th Competition, scheduled from September 13-25, 2022, will take place online

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The Violin Channel recently had a chat with Paul Roczek, chairman of the violin jury.

 

Tell us about the Zhuhai International Mozart Competition for Young Musicians? When was it founded and what is the event’s core mission?

The Zhuhai International Mozart Competition for Young Musicians was organized for the first time in 2015 and is held every two years in the categories of Violin and Piano.

The main idea behind it is to inspire highly talented young musicians to understand that a violin is built in order to make music, not to show who can play stronger or faster than others.

 

In what ways does the competition focus on the works of Mozart?

To make convincing interpretations of this Austrian composer, a player needs to have awareness of excellent phrasing, present different colors and fine dynamic nuances, and show an age-appropriate personality.

We stipulate, in almost every round of the competition, one work by Mozart. The final decision is made on the interpretation of a full Mozart concerto, played with an orchestra without a conductor.

 

You have 3 age categories, including a section for very young talented musicians under the age of 12. How important do you feel competitions are for the professional development of young musicians?

Many countries offer national competitions for young people, but there are only a few serious international ones. They can stimulate the development of a young artist to a vast extent. Accompanied and guided by a good teacher, the preparation of such a demanding repertoire is pivotal. 

 

How does the Zhuhai International Mozart Competition for Young Musicians differ from other competitions for young musicians? Such as the Menuhin Competition or Little Piccolo Competitions?

The Zhuhai Mozart Competition focuses more on the interpretation of music from the classic period. Additionally, I think that the age groups are better adapted to the peculiarities of growing up youngsters.

 

What will this year’s category prize winners receive?

The prizes for Group A are:

1. $7,500

2. $5,000

3. $2,500

4. $1,000

Group B:

1. $15,000

2. $8,000

3. $5,000

Group C:

1. $30,000

2. $15,000

3. $7,500

 

What has been some of the feedback you’ve received from past years’ participants?

The first three editions of this competition were organized in person in Zhuhai city.

Many competitors praised the excellent conditions of accommodation and food, the wonderful location of the city, as well the highly professional members of the jury. Also much acclaimed was the performance of the Salzburg Chamber Players, the orchestra which played all final rounds of groups B and C.

 

We are witnessing via the internet just how much extraordinary young talent there is out there in our field. What do you feel are some of the main qualities required to build a sustainable professional musical career today?

To build a sustainable professional music career, in my view, one should be qualified in many different fields besides just the perfect mastery of your instrument. 

It is imperative to find out what kind of violinist you want to become whether it be a soloist, member of a chamber music group, baroque ensemble, chamber orchestra, large orchestra, or teacher. The more of these possibilities you can excel in the better because one doesn't know how concert life will change in the future.

 

What would be your advice for violinists entering this year’s competition?

This year the competition will be organized online, which means that it’s a totally different kind of performance. During recording, there is no audience, no human being to whom you can convey something. My advice is to try to imagine people you like in attendance. 

As the competition will be organized this time in an online structure, make sure that you have all the necessary information about the technology, rooms, an available pianist, etc.

Violinists can visit the website www.zhmozart.org for more details. The announcement of admitted candidates will be posted Mid-May, 2022.