3 out of 4 Menuhin contestants are girls

3 out of 4 Menuhin contestants are girls


norman lebrecht

January 04, 2016

The 2016 Menuhin Competition has announced its longlists.

Three quarters of the contestants are female.

Even more shocking, there is only one male in the senior section, out of 22 entrants.

The world is topsy turvy.

Yehudi Menuhin in yoga position on his head with


Press release:The world’s leading Competition for young violinists announces its 44 competitors who will come to London in April 2016 to compete in the MENUHIN COMPETITION LONDON 2016. 2016 also celebrates founder Yehudi Menuhin’s centenary, and true to his vision for the Competition, the 44 come from across the globe – BUT surprisingly a staggering 36 out of the 44 competitors are GIRLS! Out of the 22 Seniors (under 22s) there is only 1 boy who was selected, and only 7 boys will compete against 15 girls in the Junior (under 16s) section of the MENUHIN COMPETITION LONDON 2016.

Past prizewinner and 2016 juror Tasmin Little OBE says: “I celebrate the fact that gender is no longer an issue in the world of violinists. I know my mentor Menuhin would also be delighted as, for him, the most important thing was always the music and the musician, and never their gender, colour, creed or nationality.”

The host city of London will be filled with world class music over the eleven day festival (7-17 April 2016) with internationally renowned soloists, major concerts with some of London’s best orchestras, world premieres, exhibitions, family concerts, masterclasses and outreach programmes – with the Competition at its heart.

The youngest competitor in 2016 is 10 year-old Singaporean Samuel Tan, who only started playing the violin at the age of 5 when he saw Elmo playing the violin on Sesame Street! Exciting news for 2016’s host city of London is that there are three British competitors: Louisa Staples (15), Juliette Roos (20) and Mathilde Milwidsky (21). Mathilde is currently studying at the Royal Academy of Music, the Competition’s host conservatoire in London 2016. Louisa currently studies at Surrey’s The Yehudi Menuhin School, of which Juliette is a graduate. The Yehudi Menuhin School also has a young Japanese student through to the Juniors, 13 year-old Coco Tomita. These entrants are especially poignant as the MENUHIN COMPETITION and The Yehudi Menuhin School are two legacies that Menuhin lovingly set up to nurture young violinists. See below the full list of the 44 competitors.

Artistic Director Gordon Back says: “London will be the capital of the violin world in April with a festival of excellence for all to enjoy, celebrating all things Menuhin. The applications for London 2016 broke the Competition’s own record and the overall standard was the highest ever. I know Menuhin would have been proud to see and hear these 44 prodigies, as they step out onto the world stage in his centenary year.”

The world class jurors, including five past MENUHIN COMPETITION prizewinners*, will judge these exceptionally talented young violinists as they play the challenging set repertoire**. Showcasing every aspect of their talent as they compete for the coveted prizes**, the programme demands an extraordinary mix of classical performance – and also improvisation; something new for the Competition introduced by Gordon, as even Menuhin himself found “improv” difficult!

As a charitable trust, the 44 competitors are all invited to stay with Host Families in London – something Menuhin had always championed, so that the young violinists would experience a warm home life in the host city.


Link to all photography INCLUDING 2016 COMPETITORS: here



Matvei Bliumin Male 11 Russia
Olivia Chen Female 13 USA
Elli Choi Female 14 USA
Johan Dalene Male 15 Sweden
Marley Erickson Female 12 USA
Kristina Georgieva Female 14 Bulgaria
Klara Gronet Female 15 Poland
Ria Honda Female 15 Japan
Antoni Ingielewicz Male 14 Poland
Yeyeong Jin Female 12 South Korea
NaKyung Kang Female 12 South Korea
Byeol Kim Female 15 South Korea
Anne Luisa Kramb Female 15 Germany
EunSeo Lee Female 14 South Korea
Yesong Sophie Lee Female 12 USA
Hina Maeda Female 13 Japan
Kevin Miura Male 13 USA/Japan
Mahiru Moriyama Female 15 Japan
Michael Rosborg Germer Male 13 Denmark
Takumi Taguchi Male 14 USA/Japan
Samuel Tan Male 10 Singapore
Coco Tomita Female 13 Japan


Merve Birbir Female 18 Turkey
Qing Yu Chen Female 15 USA
Yu-Ting Chen Female 20 Taiwan
Larissa Cidlinsky Female 21 Germany
Asako Fukuda Female 19 Japan
Molin Han Female 15 China
Ziyu He Male 16 China
Ariel Horowitz Female 19 USA
Do Gyung (Anna) Im Female 18 South Korea
Yookyung Kang Female 19 South Korea
Jeein Kim Female 20 South Korea
Marie Isabel Kropfitsch Female 19 Austria
Nan Joo Lee Female 20 South Korea
Yoojin Lee Female 17 South Korea
Youjin Lee Female 20 South Korea
HyunJae Lim Female 18 South Korea
Mathilde Milwidsky Female 21 UK
Juliette Roos Female 20 UK
Louisa Staples Female 15 UK
Kelly Talim Female 20 USA
Belle Ting Female 15 Taiwan/Canada
Eva Zavaro Female 20 France



Five of 2016’s nine jurors are former Menuhin Competition prizewinners and internationally acclaimed performers; testament to the difference the Competition can make to a young musician’s life. The jury of world class soloists is chaired by American violinist Pamela Frank; and former laureates on the jury are Julia Fischer, Ray Chen (who will also be the youngest ever juror of the Competition), Tasmin Little, Ning Feng and Joji Hattori. Menuhin’s son and pianist Jeremy Menuhin, Korean violinist Dong-Suk Kang and director of the Verbier Festival Martin Engstroem complete the line-up.


  • Bruce says:

    Pretty cool IMHO. Reminds me of the first time I visited Violinist.com (several years ago) and one of the comments referred, without apparent irony, to Joshua Bell as “one of the best male violinists.” 🙂

  • Brian Hughes says:

    When I read the headline regarding “Girls,” I thought this post was a joke. The joke is on me as the release refers to both girls and boys! The ten-year-old would be a boy; as for those in their 20s? I’m not so sure.

  • Ashley says:

    Was NL on the juries…..?

  • Peter says:

    This is not shocking, it represents the trend that was obvious to all who had eyes for many years. String department students are predominantly female these days.

    What I *do* find shocking is the ignorance and sexism of Past prizewinner and 2016 juror Tasmin Little OBE: “I celebrate the fact that gender is no longer an issue in the world of violinists. I know my mentor Menuhin would also be delighted as, for him, the most important thing was always the music and the musician, and never their gender, colour, creed or nationality.”
    when in FACT gender is a HUGE issue in young string instrument players.

    Let’s be smarter and not so obvioysly stupid like the feminist fundamentalists who would bark “discrimination” in reflex, if a reversed gender ratio were the reality, and *think* instead – I know that’s a quite alien concept – how we can encourage boys to play the violin again.

  • John says:

    Oh no, discrimination! We need to have equal numbers of men and women in everything we do.

    Sarcasm, of course. It is perfectly acceptable to have more women if the women are better, in the same way it is perfectly acceptable to have more men if the men are better. Some more sensitive people cannot handle the latter, though (William Safford?).

    • Malcolm james says:

      A certain degree of imbalance might be inevitable and in any one selection some imbalance will be due to random factors. However, a ratio of 21:1 is way out of kilter and if the gender balance were reversed there would be an outcry and no excuses would be accepted. Differences in attainment are ascribed to deep-seated, structural inequalities which require strong affirmative action to be addressed. When women dominate it is either greeted with indifference or, in the case of Tasmin Little, see as a cause for celebration.

      This is not an isolated case. At its most extreme the world went mad about the abduction of roughly 200 girls by Boko Haram, regarding it as a crime against specifically girls. This ignored the fact that Boko Haram opposed Western-style education for either boys or girls and the fact that they had burnt a large numbers of boy to death, where there was no similar outcry.

  • Nabiel says:

    Well, one can complain about or celebrate the fact. But there is one entrant called Antoni Ingielewicz and it doesn’t matter whether he is a male.