Only one Zakhar Bron student survives in Shanghai

Only one Zakhar Bron student survives in Shanghai


norman lebrecht

August 15, 2018

It looks like the Shanghai Isaac Stern violin competition could be cleaning up its act.

In a jury dominated by Zakhar Bron and his cohort Maxim Vengerov, only one of Bron’s seven candidates has made it to the semi-finals.

UPDATE: It seems Vengerov has not yet landed in Shanghai.

Zakhar’s last hope is the Russian-born Greek violinist Arsenis Selalmazidis.

The remaining contestants are:

Diana Tishchenko, Ukraine, 28,
Alex Zhou, US, 17
Chang Yuan Ting, Canada, 18
Nancy Zhou, US, 25
Olga Šroubková, Czech, 25
Quanshuai Li, China, 27
Jia Yi Chen, China, 22
Sophia Su, US, 17
Yige Chen, China, 18
Yurina Arai, Japan, 24
Yun Tang, China, 26


  • Step Parikian says:

    Well – they are 2 of 15 jurors. I don’t know many of the others, but neither Martin Campbell-White nor Augustin Dumay are likely to stay quiet if they disagree with other jurors; so I have to disagree with the assertion that Bron and Vengerov “dominate” the jury.

    • Simon Scott says:

      We shall watch with interest.
      Step,what would your father,Manoug Parikian have thought of all the competition machinations that have occurred in the last few years or so?

      • Step Parikian says:

        Well, I think his career was started/supported by doing well in the Zurich Competition just after WWII, so he would probably have been pretty philosophical about competitions generally; but he was against “politics” in music and would have been as strong as I am sure MC-W and AD would be in the face of any pressure on a jury.

        • Simon Scott says:

          Competitions. Ivan Galamian often said that the only value they have is making people practice!

          • Elisabeth Matesky says:

            @Simon Scott ~

            Speaking of Competitions, I just saw my mentor & great friend, Nathan Milstein, in a video produced in 1957 by IMG, performing a dazzling &
            Wizard’s web Perpetual Mobile of Novacek, accompanied superbly by
            London Piano Accompanist ‘Czar’, Ernest Lush!!! NM didn’t need any
            Competitions to motivate him to practise! He just couldn’t put the fiddle
            down, except for our English High Tea’s on break from the 1st 3 hours
            of artist-pupil Master ‘tutorial’s’ when gossiping & having jam in his coffee,
            which he adored! And, Nathan Milstein never entered a violin competition!
            (Nor did his great Auer class-mate & friend, Jascha.Heifetz!!!)

            As you say, ‘we shall with interest.’

            Good for you, knowing Step, the son of my fellow Wilfrid Van Wyck, Ltd.,
            London Concert Artist Manager, Manoug Parikian, a truly superb violinist!

            Hugs desde Chicago ~

            Elisabeth Matesky *

            *aka, Yelishtabet!!!

  • Sue says:

    I think your numbers are off because a number of Bron’s students ended up dropping out before the competition (for example, Mone Hattori and Elllinor D’Melon). A better analysis would be which semifinalists have teachers on the jury. I think quite a few.

  • Mark Lourie says:

    Just for the record, the “cohort of Bron” Vengerov is going to join the jury for the finals only. If there would not be Bron, Vengerov might still be in Russia serving “Putin’s regime”
    Do you really think Putin needs servants musicians?
    I have it hard to understand as to why Mr. Lebrecht has so much anger and cynicism towards Bron. Only a profound dilettante, ignorant and cool blooded person can come up with such comments. It is the sure way to destroy Music. For Mr. Lebrecht everything is a good news as long if it brings more readers: Bron students won – it’s a scandal and conspiracy among 2 or 3 jury members against 15. What an absurd! Bron’s students lost – great news again. Seriously, we read Slippedisc because deep down we are all narrow minded people trusting an opinion to a man who has never been on stage playing anything, and not because we wish to learn and be inspired to love music even more. A total disgrace! I’m checking out…

  • Greg says:

    Bron has always been the Ultimate and the most corrupt politician in the history of Violin playing . With the way these competitions are run I wish we didn’t even have Violin professors judging the music . They all promote their students and their names which will only be a dot in history . It’s just too bad that in most of these debacle competitions, the people that deserve to win are the ones who are cut because of politics . I’m glad he is getting what he deserves and I am sorry that there are people who still study with this guy . I don’t want to play like Vengerov , all of my heroes died a long time ago. Milstein , Heifetz , Nadien, Kreisler , Ysyaye and Silverstein . These were the people you could aspire to not this mechanical mess of factory playing that is forced down our throats completions after competition .

    • Simon Scott says:

      Greg,what you have written is music to my eyes! ZB is nothing but a manipulative megalomaniac. IMO,he is an evil and sick man. His methodology? I can’t comment because I will be enticed to using bad language.

  • Elisabeth Matesky says:

    @Greg Says ~

    Thank you for speaking about my violin mentor’s, Jascha Heifetz,
    and his Leopold Auer class-mate, Nathan Milstein, both of whom I studied
    with and came to know very well, and the latter, Mr. Milstein & his pianist wife + family, especially so ~

    I was in Mr. Heifetz’s original Violin Master Class at USC, with our
    3 days a week (6 hours each day) class subsequently filmed by acclaimed NY television Producer, Nathan Kroll, bringing his entire film crew from NY
    to L.A., & filming what Mr. Heifetz termed, “our normal classes!” The Man,
    Jascha Heifetz, was of great character, not to mention his Violin Artistry ~ It
    was an extraordinary privilege to study with Mr. Heifetz, & learn much from the Greatest Violinist of All Time ~ Upon receipt of 2 Fulbright Scholarships
    to London at Host Conservatory, the Royal College of Music, Mr. Heifetz, told me, “Liz, Lasserson in London!” He was generous & caring of each of the seven (7) of us … After my London soloist w/orchestra debut in the
    Brahms Violin Concerto under Sir Adrian Boult, & Awardee of ‘Best Solo Bach’ in the Sibelius International Violin Competition, w/ an invitation from All Five Daughter’s of Sibelius, to perform their father’s ‘Adagio di molto’ of his Violin Concerto for the Centenery of Sibelius in his birth-house outside
    Helsinki, in Hameenlinna, FI, I was signed under Wilfrid Van Wyck Concert Artist Management, Ltd., on the Violin Roster of Ricci, Henryk Szeryng and
    Nathan Milstein ~ NM & I met through Heifetz’s Auer class-mate, Sascha Lasserson, who introduced me to Nathan Milstein backstage at the RFH in
    London!!! I went ’round to Milstein’s London home to play the Chaconne of Bach, & he invited me to study privately which lasted 3 & 1/2 years prior to my return to America w/post’s-concerts here as well as tenure in Sir Georg Solti’s Chicago Symphony Orchestra – a marvellous musical experience & which I been prepared for, learning how to Lead an orchestra & ensemble- play orchestral repertoire apart from only solo playing. Mr. Heifetz always felt this vitally important & required all of us to play in the USC Symphony. One is a much broader musician and soloist when knowing & performing numerous great orchestral Masterworks!

    Seeing a marvellous Interview last evening of Bruno Walter, by Leonard Goldberg, Maestro Walter expressed his absolute belief re ‘The Person &
    Character of a musician enables him/her to appreciate greatness of the many wondrous Composer’s” – naming many & saying he (Bruno Walter) ‘had to be very ill w/ pneumonia & in bed over 4 weeks to absorb meaning of Beauty, and oddly, after my illness & eventual return to full health, I was at last able to love the absolute Beauty of Mozart! But not until later in my musical development!” Here was a Giant, & a humble Man, a Servant of his ‘God’ – Music, & Music First!! Both Mr.’s Heifetz and Milstein were firstly Servant’s of Music, both intent on ‘playing well enough’ to concertise and to Teach!! Your words expressed above also brought Musical Tears to my eyes and Heart ~ “Truth is Beauty & Beauty is Truth” of Keats, resonates in the Hearts/Souls of All who deeply love and thirst for Great Music …

    Please feel welcome to contact me with further thoughts c/o my Artist Rep in America: Dale Golden of ~ Subject, Truth in Music from Greg Says on for E. Matesky ~ *Heifetz told us he ‘always wanted to play well enough to then Teach ~ ‘ Milstein always said, “I’m No Professor; I’m a Violinist!!!”

    You are Real & I’m most grateful!

    Yours musically from America ~

    Elisabeth Matesky *