Japanese violinist wins Montreal

Japanese violinist wins Montreal


norman lebrecht

June 03, 2016

Ayana Tsuji, 18, from Ogaki, Japan, won the first prize at the 2016 Montreal International Musical Competition, sweeping up all the special prizes to collect $40,500.

You can watch her winning performance of the Sibelius concerto below.

ayana tsuji

Bomsori Kim, 26, from South Korea, came second. Minami Yoshida, 17, from Japan, was third.


  • ES says:

    Interesting results….. Why is it that the artists that I tend to prefer rarely win 1st prize? (historically, my picks usually place 2nd and 4th 90% of the time and usually go onto better known performing careers). My top 2 picks for this competition at Montreal are Bomsori Kim and Fedor Rudin. Ayana was good but I felt she was “competing” not “performing”. She seemed very tense and the tone was harsh at times to me. Bomsori has blossomed into a beautiful flower and Fedor has quite an interesting blend of the French/Russian schools of playing. Bomsori gave one of the most incredible performances of the Shostakovich concerto that I have heard in a long time. She had total command and was on fire. The weakest competitor of the final group seemed to be Ida Kavafian’s former student (jury member) Ji Won Song. I personally would have not admitted Minami Yoshida and Ji Won Song to the finals. Instead, I would have advanced Elina Buksha from Latvia and Anna Lee to the finals. I am proud that when I was in the business side of music, I was able to help many 2nd and 4th prize winners develop their careers. 2nd and 4th prize winners tend to be more artistically interesting and maybe a bit controversial. 1st prize winners usually play by the rule book (or even have a political advantage at times). My rankings (totally different from actual outcome):
    1. Bomsori Kim
    2. Fedor Rudin
    3. Anna Lee
    4. Elina Buksha
    5. Peteeri Iiovonen
    6. Ayana Tsuji

    • someone says:

      Bomsori Kim got the Audience Prize, too.
      I think you must be one of the members of the audience who chose her, haha.


      Prix du public Radio‐Canada : 5 000 $
      Offert par Radio-Canada
      Bomsori KIM (Corée du Sud)

      I haven’t seen the competition yet, so I’m not able to talk about it at the moment, but I’ve experienced similar things before.
      For example, my favourite performer at this year’s Queen Elizabeth piano competition didn’t even get through to the final, but she’s still my favourite.
      Because her piano sound and tone are really beautiful, not just pretty, but have a range of colours and some kind of pure and shimmering qualities, too.
      Her music is very soothing.

      She didn’t really show her best at the QE and I prefer her performances at the Chopin competition.
      I hope she can develop more depths and dynamics soon in the future.
      It’s not easy to find performers who have the kind of sound.

      Whoever plays, whatever they play, whichever instrument they play, usually, the most important thing for me is the sound.

    • someone says:

      Now, I understand what you mean.

      I haven’t seen the rest of the performances yet, but I agree with your opinion about Ayana and Bomsori Kim, the difference between competing and performing.

      Ayana was good, but I felt it was too much calculated and measured.
      It didn’t really sound very free or fresh.

      Bomsori Kim gave a wonderful performance of a very difficult piece to interpret.
      In the 4th movement, she’s totally leading the orchestra.
      She really blossomed into a beautiful flower.

      If anyone is curious how and why Bomsori Kim got the Audience Prize, just compare the audience’s reactions after the performances.
      You’ll clearly understand.

      However, I don’t really have an objection to the results yet, because it’s a competition. (Maybe I should hear more of them.)
      The competitors compete in every detail, and the jury judges in every detail, though sometimes, they miss more important things and cling to the details too much.

  • Milka says:

    What BS !!!! the prize should have gone to the sound engineers.