Tiger Mom sells home to push teenaged violinist

Much in this report is profoundly disturbing, not least the mother’s ill-advised decision to send Ryan Howland, 15, to a competition he stands no chance of winning. Watch below. Or read here.


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  • He sounds pretty good for a 15 year old kid. Kids can improve a lot during these years; this is not the finished product.
    What is more disturbing is that you put this on your site and say that ‘he has no chance of winning’. You’re publicly bashing a 15 year old kid. I suggest you get rid of this blog entry.

    January 12, 2015 at 2:36 pm
    Regarding the Brussels competition, my wife (BULGARIAN VANYA MILANOVA) in this competition was destined to win and was “the darling of the jury” at the end of the second stage in the main Brussels paper.
    She happened to have the next door bedroom to either Stern or Oistrakh whereby she overheard their conversation in Russian.
    Stern insisted on Fried winning and Oistrakh was for her (Milanova). The deal in the end was that Oistrakh would take Vanya to Moscow and by being her teacher she would win the next Moscow competition. (Oistrakh was not so keen on pushing a Bulgarian so the time delay did not worry him.)
    However, both agreed she was the best talent there and that Miriam Fried, notwithstanding a good Bach C major fugue was a mediocrity. Her Chausson Poeme was awful.
    Bron was an “also ran” “MUZHIK” in their opinion. Nevertheless, he was also kind to my wife in putting in fingerings for her in the compulsory modern rubbish that all competitors have to learn alone in the “chateau”. Later, he visited London and we entertained him here at home in Belsize Park. He was already becoming known and his table manners were of a slob.
    He ate an entire loaf of bread and all the food. (I am not exaggerating)
    He was under the misapprehension that we two were not to eat any of our own food. Afterwards, Vanya quipped that he was talentless enough to get to the top within a decade which proved an accurate prediction.
    Regarding this new “venture” The Strad magazine has advertised at least twice that Ida Haendel will serve on the jury. I ‘phoned her last week and she was staggered at the “chutzpah” (we know not whose) as she has received no invitation…….
    Regarding the Strad magazine’s interview with her on the Brahms concerto she has no recollection of it and when I offered to read it to her she quipped” I have no desire to hear my own opinions on either Brahms or my interpretation of the concerto. I think i know very well what my opinions are!”
    Regarding her appearance in print as a jury member she was angry that someone will have to make an announcement explaining her absence (perhaps due to illness or some other indisposition) but said to me ” Welcome to the world of music! Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.”
    – See more at: https://slippedisc.com/2014/11/jury-president-stacks-competition-with-13-of-his-students/#sthash.N7UDLiTA.dpuf

  • It really is a sad story of misguided motherly love and ambition , out of a deMaupassant short story.One cannot consider it “kid bashing ” in a” heads up” warning
    to what the world of violin competition is all about …lebrecht is correct in the
    observation as it being ill advised . But
    let us say for the exercise the “kid” is given
    a prize just to contradict the observation …it will still mean nothing,
    the poor kid will be among the truck
    load of hundreds of winners all sawing
    away their chaconnes trying to get a piece of the pie before disappearing
    into the mists of competition winners .
    The day of the young Menuhin is long
    gone .

  • Such a sick world. Especially sad after just seeing the movie Whiplash!
    I feel so sorry for this boy!

  • I can’t see or read anywhere that this is a tiger mom who is forcing music on her son. It looks like this is something he wants to do and she is being supportive of both him and his brother, and this is coming from me being beaten by a cane and violin bow when I was forced to practice.

  • You seem to have an issue with the 1st Boris Goldstein competition before the event even started. I don’t know what’s your intention, but sure sounds like a sinister one.

    “Tiger Mum”, “Push” and “Stands no chance of winning”. Wow Norman, you have really excelled on this one. Do you have a problem with Asian parents sacrifice life’s luxuries to SUPPORT their own off spring? Just so that you know, your discriminatory beliefs based on culture, ethnic stereotypes is called Racism.

  • PVER cut the baloney and give us all
    a piece .The observation that the comment by lebrecht is racism is
    ignorance . Selling your home
    so your kid could take a chance on
    winning a pointless competition is
    not giving up the luxuries of life , it
    is a” home” she is giving up , a tragic
    mistake .Any parent that would do this
    Asian or otherwise is not thinking rationally.

    • A lot of parents would sell their possessions to support their children. The mom is not selling her home. As cliche as it is, home is where the heart is and she can set up home again in her downsized apartment. Nowhere does it say that they will all be homeless and abandoned. Don’t forget that she is also sacrificing for the elder brother who is studying in Paris. Or unless that is also a lost cause…

      As for Ryan having no chance of winning, that is very harsh to pass judgement now but if they both believe that there is a chance and is worth it, who are we to condemn a budding musician?

  • Who loves to play and who is willing to sacrifice? You or the young violinist and his mother? Once you figured that out shut up.
    Fermez la bouche.

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