Its an all-women final at Indianapolis Violin Competition

Its an all-women final at Indianapolis Violin Competition


norman lebrecht

September 16, 2014

Here’s the lineup, five Koreans and one US survivor:

Yoo Jin Jang (South Korea), 23, 

Dami Kim (South Korea), 25, 

Jinjoo Cho (South Korea), 26,



Ji Yoon Lee (South Korea), 22

Ji Young Lim (South Korea), 19

Tessa Lark (US) 25.


  • Mark Mortimer says:

    How dull. Lots of Koreans with plenty of technique but no musicality

  • Michael says:

    Because you’ve heard them play? Or are you just taking the opportunity to express your anti-Asian bigotry?

    Kyung-wha Chung would like a word with you, by the way.

    • Bob says:

      Because I’ve heard waaaay too many Asian indistinguishables in the last 20 years, thank you very much. And the Chung woman never impressed me much – she was good, but never great.

      • CharlesS says:

        Not as indistinguishable as ignorant, racist Internet posts.

      • Michael says:

        Yes, but you have never heard any European indistinguishables, of course. And hearing an Asian violinist you don’t like means that you can therefore judge other Asian violinists you’ve never heard, which is certainly a valid, musical, and enlightened worldview and totally not racist at all.

        Such views are why respectable orchestras increasingly realize the need to use screens at auditions.

  • withheld says:

    Very interesting…3 of them are Miriam Fried’s (which is seated on the jury) pupils!!!

  • Rackon says:

    Jurors (obviously) cannot score their own students in the IVCI. In the small world of violin pedagogy it’s not unusual for jurors to have students in competition. I’ve not heard all the preliminaries but Tessa Lark and Jinjoo Cho are superb musicians. The musicality has been high overall in this particular IVCI competition. It’s streamed live – listen before you judge.

    • anon says:

      Maybe if competitions took the simple and logical step of hiring jurors who do not teach any of the entrants that proceed past the audition-tape round, the ‘small world of violin pedagogy’ might actually get a bit bigger. I know many excellent violinists, a number of whom have become very cynical of the whole competition-circuit. A good friend of mine is actually considering leaving the violin-world after falling out with his (big-name) teacher, for fear that his career might be obstructed in retribution (I cannot comment on whether or not such fears are justified, although I suggested to him that the teacher probably had better things to do than try and block other people’s careers).

  • Michael says:

    What a string of stupid comments! Jury members are not allowed to vote for their students. “Withheld” should be ashamed to insinuate such behavior by Miriam Fried. You obviously do not know her or you would never write such words.
    The finalists have excelled in other international competitions.

  • Joe Patrych says:

    I happen to know Yoojin Jeng and Tessa Lark quite well, and neither their scholastic pedigree nor their diverse ethnicities are relevant; they are both outstanding violinists and musicians.

  • Emily says:

    Bob and Mark Mortimer, your comments are out of line and inappropriate. It is intolerable to judge the merits of a musician–or any other person–sight unseen, playing unheard, based solely on the offensive stereotypes you assign to an entire population of individuals.

  • Milka says:

    This is nothing new …play technically well get the “right ” teacher and
    all will turn out quite well …

  • muslit says:

    competitions are producing clones and killing personal music-making

  • Joe P. says:

    If I may be allowed to inject a little common sense into these proceedings, think about this: What teacher, whether voting or not on a jury, would want to exert influence to sway voting toward a student of whom they have no confidence themselves? Support of such a student would not speak well of them as a teacher or mentor.
    Apropos to the issue of so called “Asian” or “Competition” playing, I would invite any contrarian of this sort to a blind listening test to see whether they can actually distinguish between these so called styles and whatever style they personally consider superior; I suspect the results would be both surprising and embarrassing.

  • keith says:

    Two things:

    To say that someone plays without musicality based solely on their nationality is the very definition of bigotry. (assuming that a group people are all alike based on nationality)

    To say that having a teacher on a jury has no effect on results is just fantasy. People have actually done studies related to this topic, having to do with panels that decide grant applications. Even if someone recuses themselves due to conflict, with a non-blind review the rest of the panel still shows favoritism. When the review is blind, the effect is greatly minimized. ICVI is not a blind review.

    All of that said, I heard some of the contestants live. The playing is exceptional. Very little separates those selected from advancement and those not selected.