Another violin competition is rigged

Another violin competition is rigged


norman lebrecht

February 04, 2018

These are the finalists of the Singapore Violin Competition:

Chisa Kitagawa, Japan – a student of juror Takashi Shimizu
Sergei Dogadin, Russia – a student of juror Boris Kuschnir
Laurel Gagnon, USA
Oleksandr Korniev, Ukraine – a teaching assistant at YST Conservatory in Singapore and past student of Qian Zhou, chair of jury
Lisa Yasuda, Japan – a student of juror Takashi Shimizu
Xiaoxuan Shi, China – a past student of Qian Zhou, chair of jury

Qian Zhou, who is reported to have been taken ill, has been replaced by the Director of the YST Conservatory, Bernard Lanskey.

Dogadin (pictured) has been helped by Kushnir to win previous competitions.

Singapore carries a $50,000 first prize.


  • Anon says:

    Who cares about these competitions being rigged or not. It’s not like any of the winners from these kinds of third tier competitions are ever going to have real career.

    • Violist says:

      Because in each competition, there are 100 more violinists who worked for months and years to try to be as good as possible only to be rigged out of the competition by corrupted juries. That’s why we care, not only for the winners, if you see how hard the eliminated violinists work, you wouldn’t say such a thing

      • S. Parke says:

        Violist, I totally agree! Not to mention all the money spent on the endeavor! Frankly, it is no better than stealing. These kids are tricked out of a lot of time and money with no chance to win in the first place. Plus, I am sure it must be very discouraging to lose when you feel like you played well, and those who don’t understand the crookedness at play actually believe that the players who win are better than those who did not (Violin Channel and Strad Magazine, I’m looking at you)!

  • Linus Roth says:

    There´s a simple rule that would be most appropriate for any music competition to (re)-gain credibility, and it is beyond my comprehension that not every competition follows it:

    “Students and former students of jurors and the artistic director are excluded from competing.”

    Just as we did at the Int. Leopold Mozart Violin Comeptition:

    It´s not enough that a juror isn´t allowed to vote for his own student. Jury members knowing that a candidate is the pupil of a colleague/friend sitting right next to him/her might not be objective. Especially if you met the night before at the dinner table and had a little chat about certain things.

    Linus Roth
    International Violin Competition Leopold Mozart, Augsburg – Artistic Director

  • David R Osborne says:

    About time Laurel got herself a new teacher then!

  • Reality of all competitions: all are rigged!

  • Juliette says:

    Couldn’t agree more. This is complete BS. Look at all the very good candidates that went out in earlier rounds to make way for this juror’s smorgasbord.

    Jiwon Song, Luke Hsu, Sumina Studer, Minami Yoshida, Elly Suh etc etc.

    This competition really is the worst. A completely wasted experience.

  • Juliette says:

    Shameful. But to be expected from this part of the world.

  • Nancy says:

    The Singapore YST Conservatorium is one of the most corrupt agenda-pushing organizations in the industry. Then they’ve overlaid a sketchy Russian and Chinese jury.

    This really is not a surprise to ANYONE.

    The top candidates are the losers here. Sucked into the screwed up Singaporean sh*t show.

  • S. Parke says:

    Linus Roth is absolutely correct, and I for one heartily applaud the changes he has introduced. It is about time, and hopefully the example he sets will start to make a difference.

    Also, while I understand the disdain that many of you have for competitions in general, I think it’s fair to point out that a win or two at a major competition is somewhat necessary in today’s age to build a career. It is a shame that it is that way, but it is. The world unfortunately views “wins” as evidence of talent, and gone are the days when a well reviewed recital launched your career. For that reason, I think it’s unfair to tell the students not to compete. They really have no choice if they hope for a career someday. Because of this, the changes such as those Linus Roth is making are quite necessary, and may need to go even further. Many of the jurors who sit on juries regularly are very good friends and vote together to eliminate the good players. You can literally track them through the competitions with which they have been involved, and the best players are always passed over for students of the jurors. One such pairing is Qian Zhou and Takashi Shimizu. Also, Qian Zhou hosted a Singapore Festival recently, and I am guessing that at least a few of the finalists attended the Festival. I think this is very standard practice. You pay me to attend my Festival, and I will favor you at the next competition. As Mr. Roth points out correctly, the only solution is to eliminate the students of the jurors. But perhaps this does not even eliminate all of the issues because some of these connections (like attending a juror’s Festival, secret alliances between jurors, etc) are still present and much more difficult to spot. Maybe jurors should not be teachers at all, or in any position that benefits monetarily from students. Also, if I were selecting a jury, I would specifically eliminate anyone who regularly sits on a jury. Some of these jurors bounce from competition to competition, and it is very suspect in my opinion.

    By the way, when I saw this list of jurors, I laughed. It’s literally a who’s who of crooked jurors – Qian Zhou, Takashi Shimizu, Boris Kuschner. I could have told you who would be in the finals before the competition started. It is a shame that the actions of a few are enough to taint the entire competition as well as the reputation of jurors who are fair (I am sure many of the jurors at the SIVC are fair, but it only takes a couple of crooked jurors working together to upset the results completely). Such a shame.

  • James Brady says:

    Singapore YST. Ugh. Get the hell out now …

  • Thierry says:

    Whoa what a surprise…

    ANNOUNCEMENT: Grand Finalists

    Chisa Kitagawa, Japan – a student of juror Takashi Shimizu
    Sergei Dogadin, Russia – a student of juror Boris Kuschnir
    Oleksandr Korniev, Ukraine – a teaching assistant at YST Conservatory in Singapore and past student of Qian Zhou, chair of jury

  • Shawn says:

    I’ve watched the performances of the finalists as well as some excellent non-finalists. These results are criminal and shameful.