No British students in Yehudi Menuhin finals

No British students in Yehudi Menuhin finals


norman lebrecht

January 15, 2018

The list of contenders for this year’s competition was published this morning. There is not a single UK player at either senior or junior level.

Menuhin would have been appalled.

The result must surely reflect on declining standards of British string teaching. Past winners include Tasmin Little and Jennifer Pike.

Here are the 2018 contenders:

Diana Adamyan (Armenian), 17
Otto Antikainen (Finnish), 18
Rio Arai (Japanese), 18
Zachary Brandon (American), 18
Qing Yu Chen (American), 17
I-hao Cheng (Taiwanese), 19
Elli Choi (American), 16
Michael Germer (Danish), 15
Yehun Danny Jin (South Korean), 18
Elena Kawazu (American), 19
HyunJae Lim (South Korean), 20
Dong Min Lim (South Korean), 16
Zhen Liu (Chinese), 20
Tianyou Ma (Chinese), 17
Nathan Mierdl (French/German), 19
Nikola Pajanović (Slovenian), 18
Sumina Studer (Swiss), 21
Takumi Taguchi (American/Japanese), 16
Eric Tsai (American), 20
Julian Walder (Austrian), 17
Jinyu Wang (Chinese), 20
Jinyoung Yoon (South Korean), 19

Jiyee Jen Ahn (South Korean), 14
Non Aoyama (Japanese), 13
Chloe Chua (Singapore), 11
Nurie Chung (South Korean), 12
Marley Erikson (American), 14
Jacques Forestier (Canadian), 13
Helen Hyun (American/South Korean), 12
Miray Ito (American/Japanese), 15
Yeyeong Jin (South Korean), 14
Kyota Kakiuchi (Japanese), 14
Hina Khuong-Huu (American/Japanese/French), 13
Caecilia Lee (American), 14
Christian Li (Australian), 10
Haewon Lim (South Korean), 13
Ruibing Liu (Chinese), 12
Sean Mori (American/Japanese), 15
Christina Jihee Nam (American), 15
Serin Park (American), 13
Guido Sant-Anna (Brazilian), 12
Clara Shen (German), 12
Hanchi Shi (Chinese), 14
Anatol János Toth (Swiss/German), 14




  • Anon says:

    I’m not sure how this is supposed to reflect on British string teaching – without knowing, it’s quite possible that many of those listed study with teachers in the UK, surely?

  • C Porumbescu says:

    Or perhaps it reflects the fact that musical education in the UK has evolved past these unmusical circuses. The musical profession needs superb ensemble players infinitely more than it needs show ponies – and hopefully Lord Menuhin, had he still been around, would have understood that.

  • Ian Gordon says:

    Similar lack of native British players in the BBC Young Generation Artists list.

    • Hilary says:

      I cautiously suggest that this reflects the lowest common denominator approach to the arts, and decline in peripatetic music teaching over the course of 20years or so. Succesive UK governments are to blame.
      None of the above applies to specialist music schools (Purcell, Cheethams etc) and many private schools (Winchester, Eton, Harrow etc.)

  • Mike Schachter says:

    Not many from Europe altogether.

  • Terry Baxter says:

    No, Menuhin would not have been appalled. He would certainly have given some intense thought to why it may be, but he would not have been appalled, not even mildly.

    It’s advantageous to know people before assuming things of them.

  • Alun Thomas says:

    There are many fine musicians who do not enter- and therefore win, music competitions. Many fine string players who can turn a beautiful phrase yet do not play the concertos, for example, in public. Many excellent sightreaders who make up British orchestras and fine players in chamber groups – all rounders even – many of whom do not cut the mustard when asked to stand up and play…. And some dull fiddler/musicians who amaze with a well-honed programme of Ysaye and Wieniawski……that’s not to denigrate the YM competition as it’s produced players to the contrary – the ‘Olympics’ referencing a spectacle that has little to do with artistic vision or purpose.

    There is a crisis of sorts in good string teaching in the UK I’d suggest, with token/ ‘inclusive’ musical education a substitute at times for proper music teaching especially, unfortunately, the state provision….. one problem, political will (which has spawned a systemic cultural collapse) lies in the stupid rationale behind the reductionist education system we have allowed to gain a foothold, fostering as it does, a perfectionisn that is crippling young people artistically. Also, of course the confusion that exists between expedient teaching (a pale parade of tunes for short term satisfaction) and the patience required to teach the craft of violin playing.

  • Anon says:

    ‚American‘ is not a nation. It is a continent. There are many nations on that continent.

  • AS says:

    As I see it, its not just the Brits that are missing here, which surprises me somewhat less, but also the Polish, Israelis, Italians etc. As predicted about 10 years ago, our competitions are evolving to cater exclusively for Asians. Not wanting to sound racist, but it is becomes completely irrelevant from the western perspective, whether another “Kim” or “Park” wins the next whichever competition and as a result we lose interest in the process as such.

    • Nik says:

      The Americans, Australians and Germans are called Chen, Choi, Kawazu, Tsai, Lee, Nam, Park, Shen and Li. And that’s before you start counting the dual/triple nationalities.

      • Anon says:

        It’s the only people left on this planet willing to work hard, some Asians. The rest is dumbed down to consume American ‘bread and circuses’ decadence.

  • Mike Aldren says:

    More worrying is to look back at the list of previous winners, almost all prize winners have sunk without trace. Apart from Ms Little and Pike there are only a couple of others that I recognise.

  • Susan pike says:

    The competition doesn’t really reflect the players capability of technically and musically at this stage. Normally applicants just work extremely hard only for those competition pieces, the young applicants just copy what teacher told them musically. Which is not their own voice. It is obvisouly they don’t have strong foundation technically and musically naturally, eventually they will disappeared. Menuhin competition seems prefer young one rather old one at recently, recalled last few years winner, all of them are the youngest one, seems they think younger one is more potiential or talented, or they can copy teachers more accuracy.

  • Hechtl says:

    But the zwo Winnersrs are playing absolutly nature, without pressure,,,