British child violinist wins Moscow competition

British child violinist wins Moscow competition


norman lebrecht

October 01, 2015

Leia Zhu, eight years old from Gateshead, came first in the Russian Rotary Children’s Music Competition, performing excerpts from the Mendelssohn concerto.

It’s her second competition win this year, after a Bulgarian contest in March. She gets time off school and commutes once a week to London to study with Itzhak Rashkovsky at the RCM.

Leia plays a half-sized violin by Carlo Giuseppe Testore loaned to her by Florian Leonhard.
leia zhu


  • Milka says:

    There should be a law forbidding this dreadful exploitation of children .
    The so called adult musicians including parents should be arrested .
    It serves no purpose to the art –

    • Eddie Mars says:

      Yes, let them play Pokemon, eh? Why encourage ability or individuality?

    • Mark Henriksen says:

      Look where we would be if Leopold was arrested instead of out exploitin’.

      A classical music education is only good for a child. Even public school systems here and there can see that. “Serves no purpose” is the outlooked of one who really hates music and those who are successful at it.

      • El Grillo says:

        “Look where we would be if Leopold was arrested instead of out exploitin’”

        This is quite amazing that it’s known the music that came to being wouldn’t exist without “Leopold,” I notice no mention is made of Wolfgang, who actually wrote the music. Yes, let’s just leave all the exploitation there, neglect where the music actually came from, and attribute the loss (which isn’t missing) to what would have happened was someone else not there, who didn’t write any of the music.

        Something akin to saying cows wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Mc Donalds, The city of Hamburg or Freedom Fries.

        • El Grillo says:

          By the way, I’m not trying to disparage “Leopold” but the reference to present day corporate media exploitation of children in this time and him was so off, it whisked right past me. To elucidate the connection, I might go back to how the city of Hamburg was involved with the creating of the archetype of cows, and how tomatoes and ketchup were involved, even sour vinegar and turmeric for the other condiment (onions pickles, relish, cheese)….

          How many times since there’s been talk of the “new” Mozart, and as many times it’s only to make way for the next one like some kind of infinity cadence speaks quite well for music education and the advertised results in the media…..

          By their fruits you’ll know them…

          Beyond that, how little it’s mentioned that without Mozart’s mother – having more political tact than just about any politician in these times – getting Leopold to chill out (ease up) enough so “Mozart” could emerge, this is more than has been acknowledged or still to this day would fit in formal “education.”

    • Stereo says:

      Rubbish. Talent like this should be celebrated.

    • Stereo says:

      My reply was to Milka

  • martin says:

    Mind blowing, Check out her video! She is amazing!!!!

  • Milka says:

    And up pops Bron!!!!!!

  • All Keyed Up says:

    Parents can nurture their children without exploiting them for fame & profit.

  • Gina says:

    Huge talent!

  • Douglas says:

    Beautifully played, astonishing that such young fingers can have such dexterity, such young age has such musicality. Well done!!!

  • BYG says:

    Astounding playing. She CAN tell a story. She’s got a great sense of phrasing.

  • Sacha Soumm says:

    Leia was my student this summer at the amazing Musica Mundi Festival, and it was such a pleasure to work with her, teach her to give an entrance, work on chamber intonation, listening differently to the musicians. So happy for her! She works soso hard but it was great to have her dance with us at the end of the festival and have fun too <3

  • Marg says:

    Not exploitation. It’s a very talented kid. Plenty of famous musicians incl singers gave a first major performance under ten yrs of age.

  • Sintons says:

    An incredible virtuoso! Well done!

  • BYG says:

    I’ve heard many child prodigies before, but this one is truly amazing. Her technical clarity and musicianship are astounding.

    She could make me believe in reincarnation! It is impossible to teach all the elements of this concerto in just a few short years, no matter who teaches her, how many hours she practices.

    Beyond words!!!!

  • Milka says:

    I once attended a circus where a cute little all decked out monkey played the kazoo
    with great flare,I also noticed an animal protection league officer was in attendance to
    oversee that the little creature was receiving humane treatment while on tour . Do we have
    the same protection for our little humans ? or does novelty and $$ determine how we treat
    our little ones . We know many parents are looking for the second Menuhin( he paid a high price } and the gold that goes with it, but at what cost .
    Many adults are morally bankrupt but must they visit their failings on innocent kids .?
    So many little ones are victims to parental greed and unprincipled teachers not to mention an ignorant audience who are astounded at the artificial .

  • Alvaro says:

    Leia Zhu, ahhhh, one of those all-british traditional names. I alwayS confuse it with Smith….

    • gina says:

      We all get it – your pea sized brain — couldn’t cope with any achievements from others.
      A nasty racist comment to attack a small child. How low can you be?

  • Elsa says:

    MILKA is absolutely right. She was made to practise when she was only 3. Do you really believe that was her choice? I doubt it, or at least most of the time it’s parents’ choice and they ‘love’ their child if the child performs and meets the expectations. Disgusting. Now she probably practises too many hours and is too tired to learn about the world and search for her own interests.