Viola competition president gives 1st prize to her own pupil

Viola competition president gives 1st prize to her own pupil


norman lebrecht

July 20, 2018

Another international competition is discredited.

At the 4th Tokyo International Viola Competition, the first prize has been awarded to Luosha Fang, 29, from China,  a student of Nobuko Imai at the Kronberg Academy.

The president of the Tokyo jury was Nobuko Imai.

When will they ever learn?



  • V.Lind says:

    As long as teachers of candidates are permitted on juries — and I agree, it would be preferable if they were not — this is going to happen. Perhaps a jury president or chairman carries extra clout, but the headline seems a little unjust — presumably the entire jury voted, and possibly the winner is the just winner.

    But the situation sets itself up for such extreme response.

  • Bill says:

    Hmm, win a competition judged by people with a proven track record of finding and developing significant talents, or one judged by people who don’t…I think I know which jury I would prefer to convince. And foolish to think that people who don’t have a student-teacher relationship with a contestant are somehow incorruptible. You might as well believe that some rich guy running for public office is not going be doing anyone’s bidding if elected.

    • Mike Schachter says:

      I am sure you are right, but would it not be better if such obvious conflicts of interest could be avoided?

  • Bill says:

    The teachers I have worked with (some of whom do judge such international competitions) have been without a doubt upstanding individuals I am firmly convinced vote strictly on their impressions of how the competitors played. Would they like to see their students win? Of course! Doesn’t mean they would stoop to rigging the outcome. Who wants to be known as a hack whose unqualified students can only win rigged competitions?

    There are judges I trust, and those I do not. Nobuko Imai is in the former group. And she isn’t just the jury president, she’s the driving force behind the entire festival. People who want things done differently should feel free to organize their own events to show us how it should be done.

    • Christian Atanasiu says:

      I have also worked with some of the teachers on this jury, and those with whom I have not, I hoped to while studying. It is difficult enough with a violin or piano competition, to avoid students. In the * very significantly smaller * viola world, such conflicts at the highest level are nigh on impossible.
      That said, Nabuko Imai’s students have won so many competitions that I have no reason to doubt these results.

  • Felix Ange says:

    No ZB story here.
    It was beyond obvious Ms. Fang would win…not because she was a Curtis-trained violinist, or that she had performed chamber music at the prestigious Marlboro Festival, or that prior to studying with Imai she was a member of the St Paul Chamber Orchestra…Ms. Fang’s artistry was distinguished on the stage—she was hardly a fresh conservatory grad making a case for her playing on the international stage; she played as an artist first, competitor second. I listened to every round via stream, and attended previous TIVCs in 2009, 2012, 2015, and I must say, it was clear to me the outcome early on.
    And nice that you must have gotten the news tip from Violin Channel, no? They just posted the results…coincidence? …6 weeks after the competition ended!