Mostly women in Montreal semi-finals

Mostly women in Montreal semi-finals


norman lebrecht

May 31, 2019

The semi-finalists were announced overnight at the 2019 Concours musical international de Montréal:

Leonard Fu (Germany)
Youjin Lee (South Korea)
Elli Choi (United States)
Christine Lim (United States/South Korea)
Lun Li (China)
Hao Zhou (United States)
Anna Lee (United States/South Korea)
Gyehee Kim (South Korea)
Hannah Tarley (États-Unis)
Fumika Mohri (Japon/Germany)
Johanna Pichlmair (Austria)
Michiru Matsuyama (Japan)




  • Nick says:

    As always, identity politics of the Left: “mostly women”, so WHAT?!??? Today women were better, tomorrow men, what the hell is the difference? As a matter of fact, going this identity politics route, why not say “mostly Asians”?!? No – too dangerous a zone: people can say “racist”. But in fact not. Both categories refer ONLY to statistics and should be none of our business since neither race, nor gender defines artistic excellence.

  • Alex S says:

    Fifty years ago and more, contestants were (or at least appeared to be) adults. Now they look like mere kids in high school. No doubt, technical standards have improved dramatically. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the level of artistic maturity of most contestants has declined and eroded over this time. It’s rare nowadays for a competition to produce both a top prize winner and a great artist like Augustin Hadelich.

    • Bill says:

      Everyone looked older back then, not just contestants in violin competitions.

      Reasonable people can agree to disagree on the assertion that artistic maturity has declined. An alternative take might be that (as with technical ability) the whole crowd tends to be more homogeneous now, and no one really stands out. Ubiquitous access to recordings is naturally going to lead to more similarity. Easier to appear artistically mature when you also sound different than yet another cookie-cutter violinist, I think.

  • M2N2K says:

    Based on the evidence implied by this list, Elli Choi and Hao Zhou (among others) do speak American English, while Hannah Tarley – the one from États-Unis – apparently is not familiar with anything but French. By the way, mentioning the instrument all of them play would have been helpful.

    • Bill says:

      How would it be helpful?

      Without waiting for your answer, I’ll tell you: they all play violin. If you want to know which violin, you’ll have to do some digging. Some competitors have it in their bio at the competition (as you could see if you bothered to check) and others do not.

      • M2N2K says:

        Just one extra word in the post would have made the last sentence of my previous comment and your entire reply to it unnecessary.

    • RW2013 says:

      Playing an instrument?!!!
      Isn’t it enough to have Beautiful Headshots with Baton on the Website accompanied by a Grand Statement such as
      “Sometimes I envision myself as a prism in which music and musicians are like the ray of white light that goes through one end of me.”?

    • John Rook says:

      Oh, after reading ‘mainly women’ I assumed it was a conducting competition…

  • Elvira says:

    It is very interesting to discover what is the ingredient or ingredients that bring so many young musicians to the highest level of performance in Asia
    Is the education? Tradition?Hard work? “Tiger moms” ? South Korea is present for instance in almost all competitions with finalists and winners.
    Bravo for them!

  • Robert Groen says: