2020 Menuhin Competition judges named

Pamela Frank, the esteemed American violin soloist and chamber musician, will be the chair of the judges’ panel of the next Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition, being staged in Richmond from May 14 to 24, 2020.

The vice-chair is Joji Hattori, a Japanese violinist, winner of the 1989 Menuhin Competition, who serves as principal guest conductor and artistic advisor of the Balearic Symphony Orchestra of Mallorca and associate guest conductor of the Vienna Chamber Orchestra.

Other judges for the 2020 Menuhin Competition:

– Noah Bendix-Balgley, the North Carolina-born first concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic, previously concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

– Ray Chen, the Australian-American violinist who won the 2008 Menuhin and 2009 Queen Elizabeth competitions and went on to build an international career as a soloist.

– Aaron P. Dworkin, a violinist and arts entrepreneur, founder of the Sphinx Organization, which supports and promotes artists of color in classical music, and recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant in 2005.

– Ning Feng, a Chinese-born, Berlin-based violin soloist, winner of the 2006 International Paganini Competition.

– Ralph Kirshbaum, the Texas-born cellist who has been active internationally as a soloist and chamber musician.

– Anton Nel, the South Africa-born American pianist who won the 1987 Naumburg International Piano Competition and has been active for 40 years as a soloist.

– Soyoung Yoon, a South Korean violinist who won the 2002 Menuhin Competition, the 2006 David Oistrakh International Violin Competition and 2011 Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition.

The 2020 Menuhin Competition is co-sponsored locally by the Richmond Symphony, the University of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University, the City of Richmond, and the Community Idea Stations, operator of WCVE public radio and television. The final Masterworks series concerts of the symphony’s 2019-20 season, conducted by Andrew Litton, will feature competition winners and the Sphinx Virtuosi chamber orchestra.

Gordon Back, the competition’s artistic director, and violinist Kerson Leong, junior-division winner of the 2010 competition who is guest soloist in a May 19 Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra concert, wil announce the full calendar of events at 7 p.m. EDT May 15 on WCVE-FM, broadcasting at 107.3 and 93.1 FM and streaming online at http://ideastations.org/radio/stream/hd2

The Menuhin Competition, a biennial event founded in 1983 by the eminent American-born British violinist Yehudi Menuhin, is open to violinists 21 and younger. Past winners, in addition to Hattori and Chen, include Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider, Tasmin Little, Julia Fischer, Lara St. John, Ilya Gringolts and Chad Hoopes.

Prizes in the senior (ages 15-21) division range from $1,500 to $20,000, with the first-prize winner receiving a two-year loan of a Stradivarius violin from the collection of Jonathan Moulds. Prizes in the junior (15 and younger) division range from $1,000 to $10,000, with the first-prize winner receiving a two-year loan of a vintage Italian instrument.

More than 300 young violinists of 51 nationalities applied to participate in the 2018 competition in Geneva.

Applications are now open for the 2020 competition, with a deadline of Oct. 31. For details, visit http://2020.menuhincompetition.org/apply-now

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