The cleanest competition on earth

The cleanest competition on earth


norman lebrecht

February 11, 2019

Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider said today that the 2019 Carl Nielsen International Competition will offer ‘a platform and transparency.’ He is so keen for it to be clean that he has already published one disclaimer:
As transparency is essential to the competition, we wish to point out that one of the participants who has been selected for the violin competition is represented by Nordic Artists Management. However it is important to note that Nordic Artists’ involvement in the competition is limited to organization and they have no involvement or influence over the jury voting proceedings.

Here’s the list of violin finalists – 15 women, 9 men:

Yurina Arai (24 Japan)
Ava Bahari (22, Sweden)

Elina Buksha (28, Latvia)
Jiwon Choi (20, South Korea)
Wonbeen Chung (21, South Korea)
Johan Dalene (18, Sweden)
Anna Agafia Egholm (22, Denmark)
Kornelia Figielska (22, Poland)
Michael Germer (16, Denmark)
Ariel Horowitz (22, USA)
Marie-Astrid Hulot (21, France)
Hayato Ishibashi (27, USA)
Karen Kido (24, Japan)
Paul Kropfitsch (18, Austria)
Heemyeong Lee (26, South Korea)
Kunwha Lee (25, South Korea)
Hina Maeda (16, Japan)
Seina Matsuoka (25, Japan)
Michiru Matsuyama (27, Japan)
Kyumin Park (22, South Korea)
Sueye Park (18, South Korea)
Dmitry Smirnov (24, Russia)
Belle Ting (18 Canada)
Arata Yumi (26 Japan)


  • Mike Schachter says:

    Further demonstration that the future of classical music is located in East Asia.

    • aj says:

      Nonsense…also would be interesting to know
      what is meant by classical music

    • Geoff says:

      Maybe it is because in East Asia there is a tendency to excel driven by students’ parents. Also there are a lot of them.

    • Jean says:

      Which is sad as western classical music is deeply rooted in European culture / soul and can certainly not be called “universal”. It always saddens me to see those young Asian virtuosi who indeed play the notes but not the music as they just don’t understand it.

      • Kcclovemusic says:

        I have also seen many students from European and Western countries play as if they had no idea about classical music…not to mention their technical abilities.

      • Bruce says:

        Sounds like someone who might benefit from a blind listening test…

      • HBmus says:

        I have the advantage of living close to the Curtis Institue of Music, and frequent the student recitals. I have often spoken with the students, and I can assure you that you are mistaken.

        For example, I particularly remember conversations with a 20 year old cellist from Beijing with a voracious interest in western concert music of all eras. Among other things he understands and viscerally loves the standard repertoire, particularly Beethoven, as deeply as any musician I know, and all of it is audible in his performance.

        More than 40 years and 6,000 miles separate this man’s life experience from mine, yet this profound connection is there. And – this is not rare.

        So – I know you will be glad to hear that what you have termed the “European culture/soul” is far less limited than you feared.

      • Bill says:

        So, kid of German descent born in the US, and kid of Korean descent born in the US, both train at an elite pre-college program. Which one will play Beethoven better, and why? How about someone of Asian descent born and raised in Vienna?

  • MacroV says:

    If you can’t count on transparency from the Danes…

    I trust that the Nielsen Competition makes violinists play the Nielsen Concerto? If nothing else, there’s 24 violinists who have to learn a relatively underplayed concerto, and will continue to play and teach it. Maybe we need a Miklos Rozsa Competition.

    Also assume the jury isn’t full of teachers of these contestants?