Three quit Montreal contest

Three quit Montreal contest


norman lebrecht

May 15, 2019

We’ve been informed that contestants William Lee, Stephen Kim, and Stella Chen have withdrawn two weeks before the Concours musical international de Montréal (CMIM).

Kim and Chen are presently contesting as finalists in the Queen Elisabeth competition in Brussels. Kim has also been accepted into the Tchaikovsky competition.

The Canadian violinist Melody Ye Yuan has been called in as a replacement, along with the Korean Jung Min Choi and the US-Korean Christine Lim.


  • Karl says:

    It’s a bummer that it’s so close to the Tchaikovsky competition. In Montreal they have a violin competition every 3 years, so every 12 years they will be held on the same year.

  • Stephen says:

    Stephen Kim and Stella Chen have to withdraw as they are in Final of Queen Elisabeth Competition. Shannon Lee and Ji Won Song also have withdrawn from Michael Hill Competition for same reason. No scandal here.

  • Gerry Feinsteen says:

    Every four years, during the Summer Olympics, it’s interesting to note the top athletes of the world come together for that singular event, same for Winter Olympics.

    If there were other similar events going on, with similar prizes, would this not deflate the significance of all the competitions?

    QE, Tchaikovsky, Montreal, Michael Hill, Tibor Varga in Sion (granted not the biggest) are all ongoing and clearly share participants.
    So what does winning a competition mean anymore? Do they exist as a new performance genre? Hours and hours of performances where the main performing artists do not get paid…
    There are just so many I can hardly expect winning one to amount to much more than a temporary publicity boost.
    And what if these young artists were spending time trying to find their own way of playing, instead of chasing the rigid formula required to possibly win a competition, and essentially play the same way—legal playing, inoffensive, completely lacking spontaneity.
    It seems to me with YouTube as a stage, not to mention other outlets, if one plays extremely well and with distinctive characteristics they would fare better in the long run, promoting themselves directly.

    Some violinists play phrases extremely beautifully but lack that Paganini virtuosity—think Robert Mann (who probably would have played Paganini beautifully).

    Each of these competitions requires a broad range of repertoire. A lot of weight is put on Paganini caprices. For some young artists this is either their strength or their weakness; judges are then faced with the unenviable task to deduct points on objective grounds (far easier with Paganini) than consider artistic merit

  • Fiddlist says:

    Why are you reporting Montreal replacements but not Michael Hill ones? Are you like Ikea, leaving NZ off the map?