Spaniard wins Menuhin, virtually

Spaniard wins Menuhin, virtually


norman lebrecht

May 23, 2021

The Spanish violinist Maria Duenas, 18, a student of Boris Kushnir, has won this Yehudi Menuhin Competition which was held online in Richmond, Virginia.

The competition has passed virtually unreported. The winner is already out on the circuit, booked for a Beethoven triple concerto this summer with Gustavo Dudamel at the Hollywood Bowl.

The online jury consisted of Pamela Frank (Chair, USA), Joji Hattori (Vice Chair, Japan/Austria), Noah Bendix-Balgley (USA/Germany), Aaron Dworkin (USA), Alf Richard Kraggerud (Norway), Piers Lane (UK/Australia), Valentina Peleggi (Italy), Soyoung Yoon (South Korea/Switzerland) and Angelo Xiang Yu (China).

Maria says:

I have no words to express the gratitude I’m feeling right now! Towards the competition, my dearest Professor Boris Kuschnir for being there for me in my ups and downs, my pianist Evgeny Sinaiski, my family, my friends, my caring angel for having led me through this path with protective love and each one of YOU for your warm and loving messages!!! What started out as an unattainable dream, has now become something that will change my life forever! Bravo to every one of the other amazing competitors, you all carry Menuhin’s legacy!



  • Nigel Goldberg says:

    Well deserved, she is a stunning violinist!

  • Larry W says:

    In addition to spectacular performances of Ravel’s Tzigane and Lutoslawski’s Subito, Mária absolutely owned Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole. She is one to watch!

  • Mayflower says:

    The Menuhin competition got a huge publicity boost this year from Twoset Violin with its millions of YouTube subscribers. In fact, that’s where I learned about it. I watched both the junior and senior finals and had been on Team Maria from the moment I listened to her play. Now I’m a fan for life!

  • Veronique R. says:

    Congratulations! Her tone is unique and I was amazed at how she transformed herself depending on the piece! Stunning stage presence!

  • Veronique R. says:

    Of course, she has won the Audience prize too! Wonderful that the jury and the audience felt the same!

  • Vaccine Mengerov says:

    Am I the only one who find her style revolting?

    Great player certainly, but it’s a bit too much all over the place no?

    • kölscher jung says:

      While I’m incredibly happy for her, man do i feel at times that what she plays is “geschmacklos” (tasteless). The opening of the Lalo was man idek what to say about that. Also she plays well technically, but often kinda skimps out on the finer details ofsound quality. I am sure that this will change with age tho…

      • Larry W says:

        Your taste is all in your mouth, herr jung.

        • kölscher jung says:

          Well what can I say, i just don’t like her playing. I also watched the stream of her playing Bruch (+ Paganini Caprice 5 as an encore) with the NDR orchestra a few weeks ago and i just can’t bring myself to like her playing. Surely you also dislike some performers, everyone seems to love?

  • sydney mann says:

    One phrase of the Bruch and I was moved to tears- I predict she will be considered the D.Oistrach of this century.The depth of expression.