Breaking: Indy winner announced, competition discredited

Breaking: Indy winner announced, competition discredited


norman lebrecht

September 21, 2014

JinJoo Cho of South Korea is the winner of the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis.

She was one of six finalists, all women, five from South Korea, four of whom were students of members of the jury.

One judge, Miriam Fried, stood down for the final (or was asked to stand down), after half the contestants turned out to be her students.

The winner is a student of the jury president, Jaime Laredo.

If ever there was a time to reform the competition industry, now is it.



  • Jinjoo Cho, 26, South Korea (Gold Medal, $30,000)
  • Tessa Lark, 25, United States (Silver Medal, $15,000)
  • Ji Young Lim, 19, South Korea (Bronze Medal, $10,000)
  • Dami Kim, 25, South Korea (Fourth Laureate, $7,000)
  • Yoo Jin Jang, 23, South Korea (Fifth Laureate, $6,000)
  • Ji Yoon Lee, 22, South Korea (Sixth Laureate, $5,000)


  • Mark Powell says:


  • shenyeh says:

    “Discredited”? By whom?

  • 110 says:

    Traiding favors in competitions is a disgrace yet everybody does it.

  • Milka says:

    Hat’s off to norman Lebrecht ….for
    exposing this nonsense for what it is.
    Shenyeh .. they have discredited
    themselves by their own nonsense.Mr
    Lebrecht just shone a light on the
    goings on .The winner ,a pupil of the jury president !!! you have to sit back and laugh and wonder if fools haven’t
    taken over totally .Just looking at the
    make up of the jury it is enough to take
    ones breathe away .One cannot
    but think what a clever cottage industry.PT Barnum the circus impresario once made an
    observation on the human condition….

  • music says:

    Did you hear the competition? Regardless who she studied with or who is judging, she played beautifully and was an excellent violinist. “Discredited”? By whom? Exactly! She totally deserves to win!

    • Mikey says:

      the problem is, how many OTHER violinists who would have played just as beautifully, or eve more so, did not get a chance to make it to the finals because of this backroom dealing?

      She may have deserved to win among those you heard… but did she necessarily deserve to win among those who were dishonestly eliminated from the competition earlier for no other reason than that they had the “wrong teacher”?

      • music says:

        how do you know studying with the so-called “wrong teachers” was the “only reason” they didn’t make to the finals?

  • bratschegirl says:

    With the relentless piling on of accusations of corruption coming from here and other places, one could just as well argue that the jury felt pressure not to name this young woman the winner, lest they appear to validate the accusations. That they did so nevertheless must be at least in part evidence that the majority truly regarded her as the best choice.

    We would all do well to keep in mind the difference between correlation and causation.

    • Milka says:

      The jury had no place to turn, they had to continue along the given path or it
      would have been for everyone a greater disaster than it is now .
      It is all about
      “The Emperor’s New Clothes ” and is
      suggested reading for those who decry Mr. Lebrecht having raised the
      question. He has done the violin world
      a great service and if they take recent events to heart some good will come of this or on the other hand they can
      hunker down and find more devious ways to continue the game.Keep in mind that a prize winner in being a student of a certain Mr. or Ms. contributes
      to that teachers list of naive
      students who believe that studying with a teacher who “produces ” a prize winner will also set them on the road to success .The student becomes part of the game and the teacher has a roster $$ of hopeful pupils using the
      violin as a stalking horse to success $.
      All under the sanctimonious blather
      about serving the art of music.

      • bratschegirl says:

        With all due respect, we still have only evidence of correlation and not of causation. One should be reluctant to smear someone’s reputation on that basis.

  • Alice says:

    You would be silly to think that Jinjoo was undeserving of the win! To find so much reason to distrust some of the most respectable teachers of our time is a waste of energy. The competition is over and Jinjoo laid it down with a winning performance, we should just be sending our congratulations.

  • David Russell says:

    Well—let’s not forget that she is a wonderful violinist…

  • Jewelyard says:

    Jinjoo may have possibly been the best one, but unfortunately for her the skeptics can easily say that she won because she studies with the president of the jury. Even though he abstained from voting, the other members knew it was his student. There are likely too many politics and favors being done for one another at that competition. Virtually all of the jury are dear friends and protégés of Laredo. His boss, Smirnoff, was the conductor of the final round. Last time Smirnoff was a judge. Incidentally Laredo and his wife Sharon Robinson are paid an exorbitant amount of money to teach at CIM. In the interest of fairness, in the future, the competition should instruct Laredo to compile a more diverse jury of people who aren’t his close associates.

  • john humphreys says:

    Read my article about competitions in the next issue of ‘International Piano’. Essentially nobody who has studied with a member of the jury within twelve months should be allowed to enter.

    • Musicandmore says:

      No! The pupils should be allowed to enter, and their teachers should RESIGN. Jurors are eminently dispensable, and easily replaced — whereas all gifted young people should be given a chance. No juror should stand in the way of their pupil’s chance to compete, so they should willingly sacrifice their juror seat for their pupil’s sake.

  • Lindsay Groves says:

    Just because the rules are unfair doesn’t mean she isn’t a fantastic violinist and a deserving winner. Maybe a historic riot after the finals would have been the most appropriate finale-no tomatoes, but cheering sections for the ones who weren’t chosen, online at least? To have won in that confusing situation, I’m guessing she must be not only flawless, but have something unusual and profound, even?

  • fiddlefaddle says:

    One can easily see the connections amongst the jury members, such as the fact that the young Cho-Liang Lin recorded his Mozart concerti with Jaime Laredo conducting…

  • AJ says:

    Don’t forget, the conductor of the orchestra for the competition was Joel Smirnoff, Pres of CIM, where Laredo is faculty. All the relationships are too close for comfort. Having said this the winner is a fantastic violinist. Always has been, even before she began studying with Laredo.

  • Dr. Ritter says:

    Is it really that only the Indianapolis Violin Competition is a competition that has a jury and their students competing? Examining the Enescu cello competition actually reveals that the cello 1st prize winner studied with 2 out of the 4 jury members, not just one. She is a student of Helmerson and Claret. Is it an oddity or coincidence that in all the announcements of the Romanian press about the cello final before the results were announced that her picture was always present? Of course both Helmerson and Claret are excellent cellists and teachers so it could be just a 33 percent chance of the press ‘getting it right’.

    And what about the Enescu violin competition? The 1st prize winner Stefan Tarara is born to Romanian parents. His picture also prominently appeared in the Romanian press before the final result was announced along with captions that he is Romanian in origin. Of course it could be that the Romanian press was simply excited that a Romanian was doing well in the competition. Oddly the Violinchannel kept showing Roudine’s picture in their announcement of the results of this competition. The fact that Tarara is Romanian in origin is something that was mysteriously ignored by the English language press. His father is a Romanian violinist that studied in the same school where Stefan Gherghiou taught in Porumbescu. Examining the jury list one finds that 2 Romanian jurors list Gheorghiu as their teacher. It is hard to know based on the internet whether Stefan’s father studied also with Gheorghiu or another teacher but since one can easily find out that the not very young Stefan has been playing in Romania since at least 2007, with the official conductor from the cello section, then it is also conceivable and possible, as one tends to hear things through the musical grapevine, that he also took lessons with some of the the Romanian jury members. What about the other violin jury? Pierre Amoyal. the president of the jury, had in the 2nd round 4 out of 12 contestants, and in the semi final 3 out of 6. No one asked him to restrain from voting at any point in the competition. In the 2nd round one sees obviously that out of 12 contestants, 8 of them were from members of the jury. The question about whether or not competitions are or can be made fair is a big one. As to whether they matter or not it is another question altogether. Obviously some winners are excellent and persistent and may sustain a career and others not. Miriam Fried and Jaime Laredo are both excellent musicians but they are not the only ones who sit on a jury where their students participate. Somehow it just seems that Indianapolis attracted suddenly a lot of attention about these issues which happen all the time in other competitions all over the world.

  • Mikey says:

    it seems to me that many people here defending the competition and its winner are completely missing the point.

    So if this violinist deserved to win from “among those that made it into the final”, how are we to know whether she would have faired as well against others who were eliminated earlier in the competition for no other reason than having the “wrong teacher”?

    I am quite certain that there were quite a few fantastic violinists eliminated in the early rounds who would have been stiff competition for any of the finalists. The finalists didn’t make it to the finals because they were good. EVERYONE in the competition was good. The finalists made it as far as they did because the road was opened for them via the judges.

    • music says:

      Of course, everyone in this competition is good. So who are you to say what’s fair and not fair? Music world is extremely small that EVERYONE is essentially related to EVERYONE else – and you were not there, you do not know what kind of discussion actually happened among the judges. “The finalists made it as far as they did because the road was opened for them via the judges.” – Yes, they did, and it’s because it’s a freaking competition: it’s the opinion of the judges who vote for whoever they think played the best. You may not agree, but that’s the best thing about music-it’s very personal.

  • Colin says:

    You know… I’d actually say that if there ever was a time to not immediately jump to conclusions and conspiracy theories, this would be it.

    What an unbelievably disrespectful thing it is to taint a major accomplishment for a young artist trying to make a career by concluding, on your own accord, that this competition is now “discredited”. Where are your facts? How can you back this up? Because, as far as I am concerned, I read a grand total of five sentences which formed nothing more than an offensive, baseless accusation.

    What I find interesting is that your “rules for use” (in the “About” tab) cite “No Defamation” and “No Personal Attacks” and yet you’ve managed to completely discredit, defame, and (at least in my opinion) personally attack Ms. Cho and her career, completely ignore her wonderful performances in this competition (that’s obviously an opinion but it’s shared by many, it seems) …oh, and overlook the fact that she’s also already won prizes in Montreal, Buenos Aires, Stulberg, Schoenfeld. What, then, makes you so sure she didn’t actually deserve to win? Tessa Lark could have just as easily taken the gold medal but then we’d be saying that Miriam Fried had a hold on that jury so strong that even forcibly removing her didn’t stop the cheating!

    Everybody knows that competitions are flawed – you’re a little late to that party. Everyone also knows that the classical music world is a small one full of connections that go beyond teacher/student and, at this level of playing, it’s kind of hard to find somebody removed from it. The case has been made a million times: the number of violin teachers who have the top echelon violin-competition-winning students in their studios could probably counted on no more than two hands. Why are we so surprised that these students would be winning these competitions? It’s not like they’re coming out of nowhere – Jinjoo and Tessa have the chops and pedigree to back up a win of this magnitude. I’m fairly certain Jinjoo didn’t enter this competition just because her teacher was the jury chair. I’m also fairly certain that she didn’t choose to study with him because she thought it would guarantee her a win. Moreover, Jaime Laredo has only been teaching at Cleveland for two years (I believe). The majority of Jinjoo’s time has been spent with other teachers: Paul Kantor, Pamela Frank and Joey Silverstein – three people who were nowhere near this jury.

    On top of all this: I’d like to say that those of us who actually know Jaime Laredo – like, actually know him, have spoken to him, spent time with him or (dare I say it?) studied with him (*gasp* did he and his cohorts coerce me into writing this comment?!) would be the first to tell you that he does not buy into the politics of this kind of thing. Yes, he has a lot of friends. Yes, he is very supportive of his students. No, he does not rig competitions. One quick scan of the gold medal winners since 1982 and this is the FIRST TIME one of his students has ever won the top prize. Why would he, all of the sudden, start throwing the results in his favor this year?

    So, what gives? Why can’t we focus more on the successes of this competition? The competition that builds and supports careers of its many deserving candidates. The competition that, in my opinion, does more than many others to support its competitors and laureates. It’s a celebration of the violin – and a very positive environment (at least from the outside) – whereas others are cold and ruthless (from experience).

    I suppose it makes better “news” to publicly spur on a theoretical controversy that could, after all, be just that – a theory (and a theory first posted by Mr. Lebrecht, no less). As I see it, I’ve presented more than enough fact, supporting evidence, and alternative viewpoints to “discredit” this original blog post anyway. We should instead be congratulating a fantastic violinist and musician on a wonderful set of performances and wishing her luck in her career. Actually, we should be congratulating the entire fantastic set of competitors on high-level performances. The classical music industry is already plagued with issues and pressure from the outside. Why are we trying our hardest to tear it down from within?

  • shenyeh says:

    First, music competitions can always be improved! Second, those who scream “bias” and spread baseless accusations through this site without even attending the competition are being irresponsible, irrelevant and irrational.

    • Max Grimm says:

      While I understand your point of view, I find irresponsible the way many competitions are handled. Given that these juries, organizers and powers-that-be mostly consist of seasoned veterans in their respective fields, they should be aware of the fact that one must always consider the second and third order effects of ones actions.
      Whether judgement was impartial or not is certainly of importance but it is (unfortunately often times even more) important how things look or are perceived.
      With close ties between jury members and 4 out of 6 finalists having been students of jury members, it does not “look proper”, especially given the subjective nature of music making. Whether that perception is based on actuality or imagination is of little pertinence.
      Regarding all the people complaining about an unfair competition, they are merely voicing their opinion to which they are entitled. As for those here who are getting annoyed at the complaints and criticism directed at the jury and the competition, they shouldn’t direct their annoyance at people stating their opinions, but might direct that annoyance at a system (or its creators) that allowed the perception of foul play to be spawned and to grow in the first place.

  • Tsuruhara says:

    Is “the jury” means the juilliard school?

  • Music Teacher says:

    Both Laredo and Fried should have recused themselves if their students were competing.
    Looks as if Tessa Lark (a wonderful player!) and one other Korean woman were the only contestants who were not compromised by having their teachers on the panel. Shame.

  • Erin says:

    Congratulations to the finalists and to winner JinJoo! I’m sure lots of hard work and preparation went into this competition. There’s a reason why they were studying with some of the best teachers in the country. We shouldn’t take away from their talent and dedication. Have you read their bios?? Well-deserved, all around!

  • Realist says:

    I think the esteemed cellist Julian Lloyd Webber said it clearly:”the winners of internationally esteemed music competitions were chosen by jurors selecting their own pupils”…
    “Everyone knows it, but no one says it, because when you’re in the profession, you don’t,” he said. “There are obvious exceptions, such as BBC Young Musician of the Year, which is not corrupt at all, but you have these competitions for violins, cello, piano and it’s all about who you studied with.”

    This from the Guardian Article:

  • Boring Fileclerk says:

    As an experiment, what would the ideal competition look like? Could we in the forum form the ideal conditions for a fair and honest contest? If so, I say that we could all contribute funds for the Norman Lebrecht International Music Competition. I would gladly contribute towards a cash prize for an honest and unbiased contest. While not a fan of competitions myself, I would be interested to see, and would contribute, to a properly run, completely unbiased competition. Would there be any participants if they knew in advance that the cards would not be stacked in their favor? Just a thought…..

    • Mikey says:

      It would be relatively straight forward:

      1) all competitors anonymous

      2) performing behind a screen (realistically, the judges should be behind a screen)

      3) any competitor who has a teacher as a judge must declare it.

      4) the jury is made up of more judges than are needed, and after every few performers one or more judges are swapped in and out – which is the perfect opportunity to also remove judges during performances by their own students. since there is a forced swap every few performers, the judges would have no way of knowing if one of their own students happened to be performing during their absence.

      I’m certain there are a myriad other ways of making the competition truly double-blind. At least it would be honest.

  • Milka says:

    If it quacks like a duck , waddles like a duck,and floats like a duck and looks
    like a duck it’s a duck…..
    If you are a competition judge also the teacher of a pupil who is up for a prize who are you going to vote for ?especially if your pupil by winning brings you more pupils and $$$$$$$.
    Let’s not kid ourselves it’s all about $$$$$.The unfortunate result of this
    latest Indianapolis farce is that no
    matter how well this top prize winner
    plays and whatever engagements she manages to get she will no doubt for many always be suspect.
    As for the competition itself it is for many in the category of a laughing stock .The pupil of the jury president
    wins 1st. prize ,wonder of wonders .

  • iStrings says:

    Just another example from last week also, a harp competition in Saint Petersburg:
    all winners are students of jury members and excellent competitors having prices from other competitions were out in the semi finals. And I could list several more harp competitions in the last years with same results.

  • Lindsay Groves says:

    Debating fairer rules is a healthy exercise. I think the greatest danger is that we get so inbred that everyone who manages to get accepted to any of these competitions sounds alike.
    What if the ones who didn’t make the finals went on to compete against each other in another venue accompanied by a different, maybe equally respectable conductor and orchestra, and were also posted on you tube? Then we could continue this fight about who is better in a more fun and interesting way. Possibly in positive language, maybe benefitting the performers by praising their strengths and their unique qualities? Would Anne Sophie Mutter or Janine Jansens or Gidon Kremer have made finals? Doubt it. I’d hate to not get to hear their successors.

  • Fiddleman says:

    This issue is overblown, and the resulting faux furor is unfair to the worthy winner. As has been rightly pointed out, everyone knows and has worked with everyone in this business. By the time I graduated from college, I had worked closely with most of the big string quartets (Juilliard, Cleveland, Tokyo, Guarneri, Vermeer, Orion, Hagen), principal string players from many of the big North American orchestras (Cleveland, Boston, Philadelphia, NY Phil, Met, LA Phil, Chicago), and professors from every one of the major US conservatories (CIM, Curtis, NEC, Juilliard, USC, Rice, Eastman, etc). And you know what? So had everyone else I knew. In every single international competition, orchestra audition, string quartet audition, and conservatory audition I have taken part in, I have known several of the jury members (or quartet members) quite well. Same with everyone else. It’s impossible to have a completely ‘clean’ audition or competition, and people need to learn to deal with this.

    In case anyone still thinks that screens make auditions fair….many years ago, I was offered by the concertmaster of a major orchestra to play for him/her in the weeks leading up to the audition so he/she could ‘memorize my sound and phrasing’. I declined the offer, but this is not as unusual as many think.

  • Martin Malmgren says:

    Fiddleman, thank you for bringing these things up. Having completely ‘clean’ auditions/competitions is indeed a very unusual scenario. A few times, I have felt reluctant to take part in auditions/competitions where I’ve known someone involved in the decision-making, no matter if we were well acquainted or merely had met a few times. In the end however, I decided to trust these people in making a fair decision based solely on what they heard in that particular competition/audition, and I realized that things of this kind will never be avoidable anyway.

    As for auditions behind a screen, there are easier ways to identify players than by memorizing sound/phrasing. “I’ll cough two times before I start”….

  • this is it says:

    Those of you who are complaining about this result, please just shut up and go practice. You will ever not win the first place although you bribe or know everyone in the jury. Is it so difficult to congratulate someone when she makes a real music?

    • norman lebrecht says:

      It would be like congratulating the winner of a fixed election.

      • Martin Malmgren says:

        As have been said by others, prove that this was a ‘fixed election’. Until then, this is just empty speculation with zero factual basis.

      • Martin Malmgren says:

        Also, all competitions have various rules, most of them mentioning the student/jury issue, either disallowing a jury member to vote for his own students, or at least forcing all jury members/students to be clear with such issues. Whatever the specific rules of this competition were, obviously anyone that applied for the competition agreed with the rules, or they would not have participated. As I see it, it’s rather too early to tell whether something was rigged or not. And the sad thing for the perhaps truly worthy winners is that you’re already presenting these empty speculations as facts, and nobody can really ‘disprove’ it.

        The funny thing is that the assumption seems to be that as soon as we disallow any student/juror-relations in competitions, all problems surrounding competitions will suddenly vanish. Now, here’s a pretty good story on how you can win a competition without formally being anybody’s student. Without mentioning specifics, I was told about a pianist entering a competition, who contacted a juror in advance, asking for a lesson (yes, only one). The juror agreed, and was very surprised afterwards when the lesson was over and the payment came (via bank) and was endlessly much higher than what they had agreed upon. The very honest juror assumed it was a mistake, and sent the money back. Upon mentioning this issue to the other jurors when the competition started, their faces all turned red. The same pianist, it turned out, had contacted all of them for one private lesson, and had sent all of them a similar sum. Only this one juror sent money back.

        Guess who won?

        Was he formally anybody’s student?

        If you want to keep assuming that you’re exposing the main problem in competitions, dream on.

  • Frank Salomon says:

    2-Cents – Whoa! Are we so desperate for controversy that we must resort to NY Post Page 6-type rants which definitely are contrary to the supposed guidelines of the site?

    If one follows Mr. Lebrecht and his supporters line of reasoning, we should “discredit” Life. We compete to get into school and those who might know someone with influence or someone involved in the selection process might get accepted over someone even more “qualified.” The same is true when we are competing against others for a job or for a promotion to a more exalted position. This is true in every field, not just in music. In the end, those who work hard and have something original to say, will be heard.

    It is human nature, in professional as well as personal life, to surround yourself with people you respect as colleagues and whom you like as individuals. The end result, in whatever field you can name, usually produces positive results.

    Given the fact that, since the beginning of time, competitions have had distinguished jury members who are likely to be teachers of competitiors; just as orchestra members are often judging their or their colleagues students at auditions for open positions with their orchestra; and candidates for music faculty positions may stand a better chance of being accepted if they know or have friends who can influence the search committee….. why single out the Indianapolis Competition, especially if it is true, as someone else stated, that this is the first time that one of Jaime Laredo’s students has ever received the Gold Medal.

    Let’s also be realistic about what winning a competition means nowadays. Take a look at the list of winners of major competitions for the last twenty to thirty years and you’ll find very few who went on to worldwide fame and riches, let alone ticker-tape parades, because they won a competition. And, today’s prominent teachers are so for good reason and not because they taught a competition-winner. So, let’s be real and, if there is any purpose to competitions (having a framework to prepare a body of repertoire and to view the whole process primarily as a learning experience and not a horse race), then, let there be some improvements in jurors recusing themselves from judging the finals, if a student of theirs is chosen. My guess is that the results of competitions from the past to the present would not be any different.

    And how about spending time talking about how someone can become a better musician.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      Frank, this is a disingenuous argument. We compete in life for many things, but we expect competition to be fair, the playing field to be even, the judges impartial. If a judge favours a competitor by reason of being her teacher, that is unfair – whether or not the relationship is disclosed. It disfavours the other contestants and casts the judge, rightly or wrongly, in a dubious light. To argue that other competitions do it, and that winning does not count for much, and that Jaime has never done it before, is doubly and triply disingenuous.

      In the interest of transparency, Frank, should you not perhaps disclose that you are Jaime Laredo’s agent?

    • Lindsay Groves says:

      Could we be possibly hair-splitting because the standard is so high? I didn’t hear any of them, but if I had, after the first five or six, they’d be a blur. Only really great violin teacher/musicians would be able to keep their wits in that situation. I am not in favor of screens, because I think the visuals are an important secondary part of the listening experience, helping the listener notice what the performer is trying for. And competitions draw public attention to talented soloists, a good thing. Maybe juries should contain a few musicians who don’t play the particular instrument?

      • nick says:

        Ha! You want Mr. Lebrecht to be on the Jury panel of IIVC? Is that it? It sounds more and more like that this fuss is all about the small kids out on the street are upset not being able to play in the house with the big kids.

  • pianowatch says:

    Keep your eyes on the next Van Cliburn Competition: The chairperson of the Juilliard piano department, Yoheved Kaplinsky, is always on the Cliburn jury (both the pre-screening and the competition juries). At least 15 to 20% of the accepted competitors are her pupils, and 1 of her students is always in the finals.

  • Musicandmore says:

    In the immortal words of ex-ICM Artists chief Lee Lamont (who had NO business being in that job): “Music is a dirty little business”.

  • Realist says:

    The judges score card should be public as soon as the votes are in! , just like in any other “Olympic”style contest or competitive sport!

    WHAT is the point in keeping the judge’ score private?

    Are violin competitions the only way that new talent can shine???????
    Are violin competitions a necessary evil???

  • Martin Malmgren says:

    Relating to all of this, there was once an experiment made where well-known judges/artists (I think related to the Chopin competition, but don’t take my word for it) were asked, among other things, to give a scoring for a number of performances of one and the same Chopin mazurka. Mind you, the Chopin competition has a mazurka prize, so…In any case, these judges were not informed that among these selected recordings, there was actually a duplicate. Not only did nobody notice this, but in addition, all jurors gave rather different scorings to the two performances of the very same mazurka!

  • jack says:

    Why doesn’t Norman simply start his own brand of international competitions? He can be the un-corruptable moral chairman and invite all the righteous and know-it-all people in this forum to judge and pick the most deserving candidates as winners. I am sure it will be a smashing success!

  • Felix Ang says:

    ***Stop whining about the winner and conspiracy theories! Instead, look at the majority of the jury who had no linear association with her. That’s impressive*** Norm, do you know the history of the IIVC, from its beginning in 1982 to 2014? When comparing the two, IIVC boasts an arguably more consistent ratio of winners —> careers than Queen Elisabeth. Sure, some of the biggest names have won QE, but look over the list of past winners…many of them show up nowhere on Google searches…their relevance seems to have ended at QE. With IIVC, on the other hand, it’s not difficult to trace the successful careers of past winners. IIVC also tend to lead careers in chamber music roles, such as quartets. When I listened to the various rounds of this year’s competition, a few players struck me from the outset, one of them younger and eliminated before finals, but surely one of the biggest talents in the competition circuit. Jinjoo was another, but in a different way. I wasn’t surprised, in the end, that her result at this year’s IIVC was consistent with other major international competitions. You can make all judgements you wish in regards to teachers, race, politics, but such calls get in the way of legitimate evidence that the winner is deserving of the prize. It is not unusual to find members of the jury as teachers of the student (look at 1986 for example! Dorothy DeLay joined the jury and her student won, and two other prizes went to Josef Gingold’s (the director!) students..,all of whom have had major and varied careers!).

  • Milka says:

    Mr. Ang must also know that many
    prize winners who have” major and varied careers in music” are often second rate hacks, but do have a
    “pedigree” of studying with the correct
    celebrated teacher who surprise!
    surprise! was a member of the jury .

    • Felix Ang says:

      yes, a person’s teacher was on the jury, yet there were students of other members of the jury who didn’t pass…why do you single out one pair and not the other? It’s pretty difficult to put top rank competition circuit players with leading violin teachers and not find links. You see it as one member of the jury had all this sway, yet I see it as an even greater number of “non-associates” must have also voted in the winner’s favor.

  • paulo says:

    In Portugal we have a saying ( maybe you have the same saying in US)that goes like this:” To Ceaser’s wife, being honest is not enough, shes to look honest “. So, this situation could be easily avoided by appointing juris that don’t have students in the competition. And there’s a lot of them

  • Raphael Klayman says:

    I agree with the basic line of criticism expressed in many of the above posts re the recently completed Indianapolis competition. There should not be the slightest hint or appearance of impropriety to the degree possible. Even jurors recusing themselves from voting FOR their own students when it’s their turn to play, can still vote AGAINST a competing student that might pose a threat. We will probably never have a perfect competition, but we ought to keep trying.

    That said, I feel that it’s unfair to attack Ms. Cho, explicitly or implicitly. Until a couple of days ago when I brought myself up to speed, I’d never even heard of her and had no reason to be for or against her. In fact, in interests of fair disclosure, I will mention that years ago I studied briefly but very meaningfully with Aaron Rosand, who has been one of my major influences. His student, Steven Warts was, I understand, one of the competitors and did not receive any prize. I heard Warts in person a couple of times and he was amazing. I did not hear hear any of his performances at this competition, but if was true to form I bet he was amazing again. If anything, by proxy, I’d have reason to be especially supportive of him. A different jury, even a different phase of the moon, and the results might indeed have been different.

    But I still feel that Ms. Cho is being held to blame in certain circles. Yesterday I came across 2 Youtubes where someone showed her making mistakes in concertos of Korngold and Mozart respectively, and asking rhetorically whether she should have won or whether the competition was run fairly. BUT each excerpt was just a few seconds long. What of the rest of her performances? We’ll never know from those Youtubes. And the greatest artists can mess up a bit in the heat of battle. But I looked her up on other Youtubes and found COMPLETE performances in other competitions and venues of a fine Rondo Capriciosso, a first-rate Tchaikovsky concerto, and a wonderful Bach G minor fugue. This is a big talent. I know that the main thrust of this thread is about criticism of how Indianapolis has just been run, in itself – and I don’t disagree. But there are also young, highly talented human beings involved here – babies who should not be thrown out with the bath water.