Zakhar Bron chairs another competition farce

Zakhar Bron chairs another competition farce


norman lebrecht

May 10, 2016

The distinguished violin teacher is president of the Novosibirsk Violin Competition. His students regularly win events that he controls.

The latest results: In the Junior group the first prize went to Eduard Kollert and Paloma So – both are Bron students in Interlaken, Switzerland.
In the senior group, the first prize went to three violinists:

Elvin Ganiev – student of Bron in Madrid and Interlaken.

Ellinor Melone – student of Bron in Madrid

Kyoko Ogava – student of Akiko Tatsumi, assistant of Zakhar Bron.

Bron was chairman of the jury.

Many students pay to compete in his circus.

zakhar bron


  • L.F. says:

    Thanks Norman for pointing out this charade once more. I happen to know a violinist who was in a competition with the suspect as president of the jury fifteen years ago. Already then his machinations were beyond belief.

  • MacroV says:

    You would think that with the profusion of competitions already diminishing the value of winning one, the brand of any competition would be further degraded by so blatant a connection to a particular teacher. I trust the ones people have actually heard of – Leeds, Tchaikovsky, Cliburn, Chopin – maintain more of an arms-length distance between teacher and juror?

    • La Verita says:

      The Cliburn competition? Oh no, they’ve had Yoheved Kaplinsky on their jury several times, including their screening jury. There was one year where the screening jury selected 30 pianists, 7 of whom were Kaplinsky’s students.

  • PVer says:

    Any credible competitions nowadays all publish competition videos!

    • Anne Brown says:

      Check Ellinor D’Melon on YouTube playing Tchaikovsky violin concerto. She deserves the 1st prize without any doubt. Don’t you think so? A feedback would be nice

  • Mick says:


  • esfir ross says:

    Zahar Bron was teaching for long time in Novosibirsk , so it’s a natural for him to be in a jury. What come out it’s up to his integrity that most juror loose.

    • Harry says:

      Well, have you ever heard of trainer and juror being one person in sports? That would be an outrage! Suppose I train a boxer, but I am also a ringside judge. This would be preposterous. Or I train a gymnast and then rate her performance as a judge. Ridiculous and impossible! In sports that is. However in music this happens all the time and you call this ethical standards? By the way, Kollert and So Paloma are weak performers.

  • Mihail Ghiga says:

    Unfortunately this is a widespread practice, especially in eastern countries. When I had the opportunity to organise a competition for 4 years, the best solution we had was to rotate the jury (more than half changed every year, and no one more than 2 years) having the selection on tape anonimous, the 2nd stage behind a screen and the final with completly foreign jurors who had to declare if they had pupils and if so (which was never the case, though), they were to abstain to note on those.

  • Tim Walton says:

    Bron must be really ‘Thick skinned’ not to react to these comments, or should I have left the second word out.

    • Mike Schachter says:

      He may have influential friends…

    • Anne Brown says:

      He is very thick but I don’t understand how he doesn’t do anything about all these comments. It’s well known and I’m sure he knows about it but his ass is so big he wouldn’t care. I hope he takes care well of the small amount of real talents he has in his class. I checked on Kyoko Ogava and she’s one of the same type of Asians you can find in Asia. But we all know how much Bron loves Asians. Let’s go back to Goldstein competiton with 15 year old Mone Hattori? One of the same type of Asian. You can find thousands. But one of a kind is very difficult. No?

      • Harry says:

        Asians generally find it hard to understand “character” music like Spanish or Hungarian dances and I have not heard a sound performance of Bach or Mozart, I mean they do not understand what they are playing. Mere technical proficiency is definitely not enough. That’s why Asians are so good at playing neutral pieces composed by Belgian (Wallon) composers, or technical pieces by Paganini or Wieniawski. They are people from a different culture and they try to play the music of great Christian composers and then do not have the clue how it should be played. But they make excellent tuttists.

  • Milka says:

    The up coming Wieniawski competition is chaired by a certain Vengerov of dubious
    violin talents who was also a pupil of Bron . Enough said.
    What’s in the air certainly ain’t from kapusta.

    • Martinu Blower says:

      Dubious violin talents?

    • Larry W says:

      Once again, you err. While you routinely put on airs, you are clearly no judge of talent, violin or otherwise.

    • Mick says:

      Come on, Vengerov is not that bad

      • Milka says:

        That he gets around the finger board is a given but so do a dozen others ,doesn’t
        make them artists .He does have his fans however lacking he is to the art .

        • Larry W says:

          More sour Milka. Give it up. You know as much about the art of the violin as a well-manicured poodle.

      • Harry says:

        I know what Milka actually means: Max is great as far as violin technique and various violin tricks are concerned, but as far as the depth of penetration into the composer’s original idea and the intellectual interpretation of music he is definitely inferior to another disciple of Bron – Vadim Repin. This is a prevalent opinion in the narrow circle of music professionals. Max is a showman in a way, closer to David Garrett, and there’s nothing wrong in that approach, but thoughtful musicians surely have more appreciation of Vadim Repin or Victoria Mullova (for baroque music). But of course, casual lovers of music place Vengerov above Repin for the same reasons mentioned above.

  • Streicherin says:

    Dear all, could you please name the REAL winners, if how you talk Bron’s students are not good enought? I remember such cases with his pupils – but my opinion (I’m professional musician) was, they were really the best, sorry..

    • Milka says:

      It all depends on your standards and what one brings to the table . Technique is
      technique , all have a certain technical ability but what you do with that ability
      makes the difference between a mere fiddle player and an artist. There is a violinist
      right now that leaves all of Bron’s teaching and students past and present in the dust .

    • Harry says:

      By the way, Maxim Vengerov never mentions Bron as his primary teacher; he always mentions the name of Galina Turchaninova. As for Repin, he developed his technical ability under Bron’s tutelage, but he evolved into a complete package independent of Bron.

  • Milka says:

    Larry w now having spoken out removes all doubt .
    Fools never seem to take their own advice .

    • M2N2K says:

      Meanwhile, you still have not enlightened those of us eager to learn as to whom you, in possession of highest expectations, consider that superior “violinist right now” who “leaves in the dust” such performers as, for example, Repin and Vengerov both of whom studied with Bron.

  • Anne Brown says:

    I don’t understand. First, this girl, Ellinor D’Melon is a student of Bron. Elvin Ganiyev as well. It is “illegal” to have a 15 year old in a senior competition. She is not aged for it. But of course, Bron is the owner of all competitions, or what? First prize winners Paloma Co and Edward Kollert are also BRONS students. He’s the owner and he does what he likes. How can a Jamaican girl get a first prize in Russia? This is not even reasonable. When can a Russian win a first prize in the competition? I over heard melon was sick and she had to play with a fever. Do we honestly think she with her own will would like to play for a duty? What about the tutor/parent responsibility or Brons responsibility? Finally what does he do with kids? Ganiyev was also sick. You see in the competition how melon was coughing while playing. This is total abuse. And obviously Bron does whatever his ass asks him to do because he’s the “owner” of all competitions. In Wienawski competition this October he will be there with Vengerov. Obviously he will take over the competition the way he will want to do it. This violin world is shit. After all. How do these first prize winners play? We don’t even get videos on YouTube.

    • William T. says:

      What does it have to do that melone is Jamaican or not aged for the competition? She’s a kid. She obviously has to do whatever bron says but I am very curious about him pushing his students to compete between each other and even in bad health conditions. What an asshole! What about the parents! I watched melone play Tchaikwosky and it’s quite amazing. She also performed with zubin Mehta so she’s no shit. For my personal opinion I think she is much better than Ganiyev comparing the Tchaikwosky and I think she rocks even if she is 15 and Jamaican. So what, I’m Canadian? WTF! But I am definitely not a fan of Brons methods. Last year Hattori Japanese got Grand Prix in Goldstein and she was 15. But she’s no good compared to melone. You can find so many like Hattori in Asia but melone is one of a kind. She’s easily found on YouTube. Check her out. I do think that Ganiyev should have gotten second prize, but I don’t know the competition there. Only if there were videos I could judge better. But we all know Brons the owner and he’ll always put his own students first. Who knows. Maybe they pay him for a prize? Anyways I’m interested for Ellinor melon.

      • Anne Brown says:

        I have seen videos of Ellinor melon and she is amazing. I have seen her name is spelled – Ellinor D’Melon- but I must say, ridiculous name. Melon? A fruit? I don’t think she payed for the prize for two reasons. 1- she plays like god. I think she plays as well as small Vengerov. 2- in a YouTube video posted on October 10th 2010 (she was only 9 years old!!!!!) she was playing nocturne by Chopin says in the description box that she needed a scholarship for further improvement of her talent. I mean, obviously, who for heaven’s sake will teach a prodigy in Jamaica? It’s literally in the middle of nowhere in the Caribbean.I only know bob Marley as a musician that came out of there. Thank god she’s half Cuban because then we wouldn’t know where to locate her. But I cannot say she’s not talented. Her Tchaikwosky is ABSOLUTLY amazing. So much energy and passion. The finger move and she’s thinking in other stuff. Who knows? Maybe going to beautiful beaches in the Caribbean? Her Mozart with Mehta is also astonishing. So clean and perfect and elegant. And she must have big guts to stand in front of Mehta and play so amazingly as well as in big big halls. I compared with Elvin ganiyev’s Tchaikovsky and he’s total shot compared to her. I also watched it. He doesn’t even play clearly and there’s too much show. I think 2nd prize shouldn’t have been given to anyone in Novosibirsk. But I also agree, I haven’t seen videos. I also saw Mone Hattori. Her technique is impressive but she’s very common. Like all Asians. There are over 20,000 violinists in Japan. She’s not so astonishing. Her technique is as good as the majority of all Asians. She can’t be compared in sound with D’Melon. At all. I think I’m actually wright tho. Link of D’Melon at age nine is here:
        Am I not right?

        • carla Alice says:

          She’s absolutely amazing. Pity she has to study with such an ass of a person but amazing pedagogue. I saw her play Tchaikwosky in the national auditorium of Madrid as I had gone as a tourist to the city and I had been invited. I asked her for an autograph and she’s such a sweet girl. Bron should learn from nice students like her. Not only as violinist but as a good person.

  • Anne brown says:

    Carla Alice – I am quite surprised. I supposed she would be like her teacher. But it doesn’t stop being a fact that she was forced to compete with fever and obviously not feeling well. No kid is going to want to compete having a fever. Bron forced her, and obviously the parents agreed or vice versa. Maybe the parents forced and Bron agreed. She does actually play really amazing. I love her playing so much. But we all know Bron uses the prodigies and squeeze them and doesn’t help them after. What a shitty atmosphere. But bravo to such a girl! I’m glad she’s a nice person. Would be a pity if she’s not.