At the Queen Elisabeth semi-finals, 3 out of 4 are Far East

Here’s the jury’s semi-final list, announced last night:

Stella Chen (USA, 26)
Timothy Chooi (Canada, 25)
Anna Göckel (France, 27)
Ioana Cristina Goicea (Romania – Germany, 26)
Luke Hsu (USA, 28)
Sylvia Huang (Belgium, 25)
Meruert Karmenova (Kazakhstan, 25)
Siwoo Kim (USA – Korea, 29)
Stephen Kim (USA, 23)
Daniel Kogan (Canada – Russia, 26)
Shannon Lee (Canada – USA, 26)
Yoo Jin Lee (Korea, 20)
Christine Lim (Korea – USA, 24)
Seina Matsuoka (Japan, 25)
Seiji Okamoto (Japan, 24)
Kyumin Park (Korea, 22)
Júlia Pusker (Hungary, 27)
Eva Rabchevska (Ukraine, 22)
Ji Won Song (Korea, 26)


Elly Suh (Korea – USA, 29)
Max Tan (USA, 26)
Yukiko Uno (Japan, 23)
Mio Yoshie (Japan, 23)
Vasyl Zatsikha (Ukraine, 28)



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  • Hm, I count 10 out of 24. Or should we assume the USA/Canada far east, from a European point of view? The earth is round after all. But then the Asian countries are not far east anymore.

  • here’s a question:
    What does it mean when Competitor X won a major prize and arguably the closest competition to QE but fails to win a prize at QE? Does that hurt the reputation of the other competition? OR If Competitor Y was given 5th a another recent competition but wins first prize at QE?

    Perhaps I t’s time to keep a digital scoreboard so we can follow the triumphs overall.

    The competitors are mostly familiar names to all the other competitions—same with the jury. The halls are different, and maybe the audiences.

    Does anyone else remember when there was just a handful a major violin competitors and it really meant something to win one? So many legendary performances…

  • What??? Looking at the list as you have presented it, i.e., counting such as “USA – Korea” as Far Eastern, but most decidedly not counting “Luke Tsu (USA)” as Far Eastern because of the name, and I hope you are not doing that, I can discern only eleven who are Far Eastern. I’d better note here that Kazakhstan is not in the Far East, in case you counted that one. I have no idea how you came up with “3 out of 4”. Let’s be clear that anyone with an Asian name but from, say, the USA only is American. For aught you know, he/she may be third generation. This is not the first time you’ve been on this kick and it strikes me as distasteful at best.

  • Waiting for some Comments that say 2 out of 3 violinists in the Queen Elizabeth competition are unmusical, uninteresting and have only technic.

  • Assuming you mean Japan/Korea by “far East” that’s only 10/24. Or do you call everyone with an Asian-looking last name “far East” regardless of their country of origin? Isn’t that like someone saying, “no, I mean where are you REALLY from?”

  • Oh my goodness. Not just that, but they are all foreigners ! What is the rest of the world coming up to ?

  • It’s not surprising.

    If you look at talented musicians from the U.S.A. they come from:

    1) Jewish backgrounds (often from Israel). ex. Gil Shaham;
    2) China and/or Asia: exs. Midori, Yo Yo Ma, Lang Lang

    The real question is what will happen to classical music in the West if these sources ‘dry up’? That could happen if:

    1) Israel develops its own classical music training/music;
    2) China and or another country (Singapore?) does the same in Asia.
    3) Germany ups its ante.

    At play in all of this:

    A. Brexit (tremendous uncertainty regardless of whether you are for or against);
    B. Trump/nativist/increasing antisemitism/reactionary forces in the USA. They might not end with Trump.;
    C. A resurgent China.

    West Germany might also profit from all of this. It is seen as a “safe haven” and also a place that values and nurtures classical music.

    • What an astonishingly uninformed (to use the nicest possible word) statement. There are plenty of extremely talented musicians in the U.S. and elsewhere who are neither from Jewish nor Asian backgrounds.

  • Cool. I’m sure they’re all amazing! Can’t wait to watch videos of the semi-finals.

  • Better to think of Japanese, Korean and Chinese musicians as East Asian. Those countries are not “far” if you happen to have been born there. (During my two stints in Tokyo I felt I was at the center of the Universe.) Separately, several of the artists listed are actually American, Canadian, and so on, so the distinction is being made on the basis of their names only, which is not the ideal way to consider people. There is a high level of dedication to Western art music in millions of East Asian families — “a good thing,” as a certain Twitter user would say — and perhaps this is paying off in slots a major competitions. Credit where credit is due!

  • Timothy Chooi was born in Canada, did his early studies in Canada, graduated from the Curtis Institute and is at present a student at Julliard. Is he one of your “far east” competitors? Surely not because of his name and appearance.

  • It’s not surprising (#2)

    A number of years ago, I attended a large high school’s graduation ceremony in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. at the invitation of a friend. My friend was born in Vietnam and his son was graduating so it was a joyous occasion.

    Of the top 10 graduates of this public school, 9 were of Asian origins. The two top students were both of Vietnamese origins which made my friend happy.

    The only non Asian student in the top 10 had a Germanic sounding last name.

    I can also recall a visit to Saigon about 20 years ago. I was staying at a family owned guest house. Every morning, the owner’s son (about 15 years old) was reading from a large book. Intrigued and curious, I asked him what it was he was reading. Answer: calculus.

    Is it any wonder why Julliard is opening a branch location in China?

  • …and why is this accounting, even if it were accurate, notable? What’s your point? It seems to be a theme in so many of your posts; that is, naming in your headline the ethnicity or country of origin of the people about whom you are writing.

    Don’t get me wrong – this is your blog, you own it, you can say what you wish, and any of us commentators are, as it were, guests in your living room. I’m just curious as to why.

    • He didn’t even manage to name an ethnicity OR country of origin in this headline! Saying a person is “Far East” is not even English. If you’re going to be blatantly racist at least use correct grammar.

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