No winner at the Max Rostal contest

The Max Rostal Competition, sadly shrunken since its transfer to the Berlin University for the Arts, failed to produce a violin winner this time round. The secnd prize was shared by Daniel Cho, Kyumin Park and Johanna Pichlmai.

The viola award went to Tobias Reifland, 24.

The top prize is now just 7,000 Euros.

A student of Carl Flesch, Max Rostal (1905-91) was a vastly influential London teacher.

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  • Even more vastly influential as a teacher in Switzerland, and many of today’s top violinists worked, however briefly, with Rostal, if for no other reason than to show the Flesch lineage on their resume. His Schubert, Schumann and Stravinsky recordings on Symposium (CD reissues) are highly recommended. A violin competition named after him should be major league; a pity if it isn’t attracting top talent.

    • I am afraid that we must agree to disagree on certain points.
      For a start Rostal along with Andre Gertler Yfrah Neaman and others virtually invented a form of violin fascism. By that I mean all their pupils played in the same way.
      Rostal,in particular,was a pathological money machine–he thought nothing of putting his already considerable fee up in the middle of the lesson as well as charging a fortune for his very ordinary and often impractical fingerings and bowings–just take a look at his editions.
      Disciple of Flesch?
      No chance. Flesch was one of the most forward looking pedagogues ever. Sadly,what he taught has been ruined by his so-called disciples.
      A propos, can we think of any great players who were exclusively trained by Rostal. Well,I can’t.

      • Furthermore,one can safely say that Rostal and others had ruined 2 or 3 generations of talent with their highly dogmatic approach,not to mention the watery and castrated style of playing which they inflicted on their students.

        • Rostal and others , who are others?
          Watery and castrated style of playing? Thank you for your comment. I feel as a Rostal student flattered ! If you call Rostal’s aestethics for watery and castrated, I can assure you that I am very proud of inflict his style on all my students combined and modified to today’s taste.

      • Violin fascism? It is the first time I hear this. Max Rostal had a school of violin playing which he taught to his pupils. He gave us his fingerings and bowings which we could use. Most of used them, because they all made sense. However, we all played differently. If we chose other solutions, we were all free to discuss it with our teacher.
        Rostal charged a high fee for privat lessons, just like other famous teachers like Ivan Galamian
        and Tibor Varga. He never, I mean never, changed his fee during a lesson.He never charged anyone to have his fingerings and bowings. In order to get them, one had to be a pupil of his. I have heard this complaint of Max Rostal being a ruthless money machine before. I can assure you it is a malicious myth. When I graduated from the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Cologne, I continued taking lessons from him privately . He never charged me a penny !
        His fingerings and bowing may seem strange to many , providing you aren’t familiar with his school of playing and if you are not willing to let artistic decisions come before simple solutions. Max Rostal always said that musical taste changes very 35 to 40 years and some of his editions might be a bit dated today. However, so are the editions made by Flesch, Galamian, Francescatti, Szeryng, Oistrach and others. But , I can assure you , that the philosophy behind deciding on fingerings and bowings which I learned from Max Rostal, will always stay with me. Today I combine it with my own practical experience on stage and the fact that we are in 2019.
        Max Rostal had numerous students from all over the world. There are so many who have or have had great influence in their country’s musical life. Many of his students still teach , like Igor Ozim, and many of Max Rostal’s ” grand children” are applying principles , both technical and musical, which derive from him .

        By the way, I can think of many concertmasters around the world who were exclusively trained by Max Rostal and great soloists and teachers like Igor Ozim, Edith Peineman and the Amadeus Quartet, to name a few. I can , of course, put a very long list, with all the violinists who have studied with him for long periods. But, you are right, I cannot name anyone who started as a beginner with Max Rostal and stayed the whole life. As a matter of fact, I don’t know so many teachers who can.

  • One can only hope this latest news portends the beginning
    of the end of these ridiculous competitions which do
    not contribute to the at of playing music in the slightest degree.

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