189 hopefuls storm minor violin competition

189 hopefuls storm minor violin competition


norman lebrecht

August 04, 2016

The Louis Spohr violin competition in Weimar, hardly the most famous, has received 189 applications from contenders aged 14 to 20, many flying in from Asia to audition.

They have been whittled down to 107 starters.

No previous winner has gone on to make a major career.

This particular contest is fairly transparent, all judges marks being made public. But the competition industry as a whole feeds off unrealistic expectations and delivers little glory in return for so much hope.

louis spohr



  • Hanna Nahan says:

    Are you so down on competitions because you’ve never been invited to be on the jury panel for one?

    • Milka says:

      What an ignorant comment …………..Competitions are for athletes , race horses
      and other animals …have no place to an art form unless this Spohr competition is
      about the fastest and most accurate air head and not much else.
      It will bring a few bucks to the town if they are lucky
      Another pointless gimmick competition to draw in unsuspecting idiots .

  • Alexander says:

    Zsolt-Tihamer Visontay has gone on to become rather well known. I’ve never heard of any other previous winners though.

  • Hugh Jorgan says:

    The only beneficiaries of the musical instrument competition industry in its current form are the juries and organizers, for the most part shagged-out old hacks who primarily want to cash in on the subsidies, sponsor money and public glitz at the expense of a mass of hopeful young people.
    The handful of tender-aged “prizewinners” who can actually put bread on the table by public performing for more than 1-2 years subsequently are a statistical anomaly, a blip on a flat baseline. The rest disappear into obscurity or worse, oblivion.
    Disclosure: I won seventh prize in the Concorso Pianistico Internazionale – Premio “Lamborghini” in Lasagne al Forno in 1998.

  • J. A. Hautbois says:

    Sergey Khachatryan won the Spohr competition and enjoys a fabulous career.

  • David Oberg says:

    Competitions are for horses, not artists. — Bela Bartok

  • olivia akazaki says:

    As a young musician who knows previous winners of this competition personally, and have been very impressed by their skill and passion for music, I think it’s highly unfair that you present such a salty and negative view of this competition.

    All the people who go here, whether they win or not, and whether or not they are able to break into the highly exclusive ‘soloist circle’, work extremely hard to attain a high level of precision and put a legitimate musical intelligence into their playing, which is very impressive and admirable for their young age. Dismissing their efforts as ‘unrealistic expectations’ and having ‘little glory’ to achieve is simply cruel.

    This competition may be rather small, and a simply a building block to their careers, but one shouldn’t underestimate its importance in helping raise the level of young musicians to an unprecedented level.

    • Sam Anderson says:

      Olivia Akazaki, you mentioned knowing the winners of the competition- but what of those who don’t win? Watching the live streams for the second and third rounds this year, it’s obvious that the right person never wins.

      I know those people, young musicians who were cheated of a well deserved win, and heartbroken by the unfair results and they have made it clear to me that this competition is rigged from top to bottom, a mere attempt by the jury members to boost their ego and reputation.

      There’s a reason none of the winners have ever gone on to do anything of note.