Menuhin Competition winners named

María Dueñas, an 18-year-old Spaniard who studies with Boris Kuschnir at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz and the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna, has been named senior first prize-winner of the 2021 Yehudi Menuhin Competition for young violinists, staged this year in Richmond.

Keila Wakao, a 15-year-old resident of Chestnut Hill, MA, who studies with Donald Weilerstein and Soovin Kim at New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, was named junior first prize-winner of the competition.

Dueñas wins $20,000 plus a two-year loan of a Stradivarius violin from the collection of Jonathan Moulds and a bow made by Christophe Landon. Wakao wins $10,000 and a two-year loan of an antique Italian instrument, sponsored by Florian Leonhard Fine Violins London & New York. Wakao also won the Junior Composer Award, sponsored by the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation.

The two prize-winners will perform with the Richmond Symphony in the competition’s Gala Presentation at 5 p.m. (EDT) May 23, viewable online via The concert also will feature Angelo Xiang Yu, a winner in the 2010 Menuhin Competition, playing “Bound Away,” a work by Richmond-bred composer Mason Bates written for contestants to play in this year’s competition.

The Menuhin, which since its founding in 1983 has become the leading international competition for young violinists (22 and younger), was to have been staged in Richmond in 2020, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Continued safety concerns and travel restrictions led to the rescheduled competition being run primarily online.

Most competition rounds and concerts can be seen and heard on the competition’s YouTube channel:

Other senior prize-winners:

– Second prize: Simon Zhu, a 20-year-old German studying at the Julius-Stern-Institut – Universität der Künste (University of the Arts) in Berlin.

– Third prize: Hana Chang, 18, a student at Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

– Fourth prize: Karisa Chiu, 21, a Curtis student from Illinois.

Joint Composer Award: Chiu and Emily Shehi, 22, a Curtis student and Philadelphia resident.

Other junior prize-winners:

Second prize: Edward Walton, 15, a student at the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne.

Third prize: Hannah Wan Ching Tam, 15, from Hong Kong, a student of Ida Kavafian at Curtis.

– Fourth prize: Kento Hong, 14, a student of Ann Setzer in the Pre-College Division of the Juilliard School of Music in New York.

– Fifth prize: Boha Moon, 15, an alumna of the Korea National Institute for the Gifted in Arts who now studies with Josef Špaček in Prague.

Jurors of this year’s Menuhin Competition were Pamela Frank, chair; Joji Hattori, vice chair; and Noah Bendix-Balgley, Aaron Dworkin, Alf Richard Kraggerud, Piers Lane, Soyoung Yoon, Angelo Xiang Yu and Richmond Symphony Music Director Valentina Peleggi.

Local sponsors of the Menuhin include the Richmond Symphony, the University of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University, the City of Richmond and VPM (Virginia Public Media).

Richmond Symphony 2021-22

The Richmond Symphony’s 2021-22 Masterworks concerts will juxtapose repertory staples by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Dvořák, Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich with works by women and composers of color, including the Piano Concerto in one movement by Florence Beatrice Price and “Umoja, Anthem of Unity” by Valerie Coleman.

The season also will mark the 50th anniversary of the Richmond Symphony Chorus with performances of Haydn’s oratorio “The Creation” and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in spring 2022.

The orchestra will present eight Masterworks programs on Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons – six conducted by Music Director Valentina Peleggi, one each by Chia-Hsuan Lin, the symphony’s associate conductor, and Erin Freeman, director of the Symphony Chorus – at the Carpenter Theatre of Dominion Energy Center, Sixth and Grace streets in downtown Richmond.

Guest instrumental soloists in the coming season include pianists Louis Schwizgebel in the Price concerto and George Li in Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, violinist Stefan Jackiw in Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Violin Concerto in D major, and cellist Sterling Elliott, the Newport News-born winner of the 2014 Richmond Symphony Concerto Competition, in Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 2 in D major. Daisuke Yamamoto, the symphony’s concertmaster, will be the solo violinist in Bruch’s “Scottish Fantasy.”

In addition to Coleman’s “Umoja,” works by contemporary composers include “Overdrive” by Melissa Dunphy, “Alma’s Songs with Words” by Roxanna Panufnik and “An Act of Resistance” (second reading) by Joel Thompson.

“A Baroque Holiday,” a Christmas concert whose conductor and program will be announced later, is scheduled for Dec. 4 at the Carpenter Theatre. Tickets are $20-$60.

Past subscribers to the Masterworks series are receiving renewal forms by mail. For information on new subscriptions and single-ticket availability, call the symphony’s patron services office at (804) 788-1212, ext. 2 or visit

Additional symphony series and special concerts will be announced later, as will plans to continue online streams of concerts for home viewing and listening early in the coming season.

The 2021-22 Masterworks season:

Sept. 25 (8 p.m.)
Sept. 26 (3 p.m.)
Valentina Peleggi conducting
Florence Beatrice Price: Piano Concerto in one movement
Louis Schwizgebel, piano
Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 in E minor (“From the New World”)
other works TBA

Oct. 23 (8 p.m.)
Oct. 24 (3 p.m.)
Chia-Hsuan Lin conducting
Melissa Dunphy: “Overdrive”
Haydn: Cello Concerto No. 2 in D major

Sterling Elliott, cello
Stravinsky: “Pulcinella” Suite
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 1 in D major (“Classical”)

Nov. 13 (8 p.m.)
Nov. 14 (3 p.m.)
Valentina Peleggi conducting
Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 in C minor
other works TBA

Jan. 29 (8 p.m.)
Jan. 30 (3 p.m.)
Valentina Peleggi conducting
Roxanna Panufnik: “Alma’s Songs without Words”
Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Violin Concerto in D major

Stefan Jackiw, violin
Brahms: Symphony No. 1 in C minor

Feb. 26 (8 p.m.)
Feb. 27 (3 p.m.)
Valentina Peleggi conducting
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor
George Li, piano
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 in D minor

March 19 (8 p.m.)
March 20 (3 p.m.)
Valentina Peleggi conducting
Bruch: “Scottish Fantasy”
Daisuke Yamamoto, violin
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 3 in A minor (“Scottish”)
other works TBA

April 9 (8 p.m.)
April 10 (3 p.m.)
Erin Freeman conducting
Haydn: “The Creation”
soloists TBA
Richmond Symphony Chorus

May 21 (8 p.m.)
May 22 (3 p.m.)
Valentina Peleggi conducting
Valerie Coleman: “Umoja, Anthem for Unity”
Joel Thompson: “An Act of Resistance” (second reading)
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D minor (“Choral”)

April Martin, soprano
Stephanie Foley Davis, mezzo-soprano
Rodrick Dixon, tenor
Damien Geter, bass-baritone
Richmond Symphony Chorus

Special concert:

Dec. 4 (7:30 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center
conductor TBA
“A Baroque Holiday”
program TBA

May calendar

Richmond rounds of the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition for young musicians, delayed for a year because of the pandemic, are under way, with most of the competition being conducted online.

In one live-only event, the Richmond Symphony, with guest conductor Jahja Ling and violinist Angelo Xiang Yu, a winner in the 2010 competition, will perform in a Celebration Concert, whose program includes Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K. 216, and “The Marriage of Figaro” Overture; Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A major; “Bound Away,” a piece for violin written for the competition by Richmond-bred Mason Bates; and “Starburst” by Jessie Montgomery, at 7 p.m. May 14 and 8 p.m. May 15 at the Carpenter Theatre of Dominion Energy Center, Sixth and Grace streets. Tickets: $10-$100 (seating limited). Details: (800) 514-3849 (ETIX);

Other events in the Menuhin Competition, including concerts by the Regina Carter Quartet, Mark & Maggie O’Connor, members of the Sphinx Virtuosi chamber orchestra, past winners of the competition and the Richmond Symphony with violinist Angelo Xiang Yu and winners of this year’s competition, can be accessed without charge. Schedule details:

For more information on the Menuhin Competition, running through May 23, visit its website:

Members of the Richmond Symphony play chamber works in Coffee Break Concerts, 11:30 a.m. May 7 and 21 at Ironclad Coffee Roasters, 1805 E. Grace St. Admission is free. Details: (804) 788-1212;

Virginia Opera and the Richmond Symphony, Adam Turner conducting, stage Leonard Bernstein’s one-act opera “Trouble in Tahiti” at 4 p.m. May 1 at Dogwood Dell, Byrd Park, in Richmond. The cast includes Marissa Simmons as Dinah, Eric McConnell as Sam and Symone Harcum, Andrew Turner and Nicholas Martorano as the boys-and-girl trio. Kyle Lang is the stage director. Admission is free; reservations are required. Details: (804) 644-8168; . . . The production moves to Norfolk for performances with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, presented in conjunction with the Virginia Arts Festival, at 6 and 8:30 p.m. May 7 and 4 and 7 p.m. May 8 at the VAF Bank Street Stage, 440 Bank St. Tickets: $35-$140. Details: (866) 673-7282;

The Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia, in partnership with the Richmond Public Library’s Gellman Room series, presents flutist Mary Boodell, violinist Jesse Mills, pianists Rieko Aizawa and Ingrid Keller, writer Angela Lehman and host James Wilson performing from their homes in Richmond and New York in “A Musical Aviary,” a free program of works by Saint-Saëns, Somei Satoh, Howard Swanson and Jean Sichler in an online stream at 2 p.m. May 1. Access: . . . The society also presents clarinetist David Lemelin, violinists Meredith Riley and Christopher Whitley, violist Fritz Gary and cellist Khari Joyner in live performances of Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet in A major, K. 581; Carlos Simon’s “An Elegy: Cry from the Grave;” and a quartet arrangement of Bartók’s “Romanian Folk Dances” at 4 p.m. May 2 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 2315 N. Parham Road. Tickets: $5-$30. Details: (804) 304-6312;

Benjamin Rous conducts the Virginia Symphony Orchestra in John Adams’ “Shaker Loops” and Mozart’s Symphony No. 36 in C major, K. 425 (“Linz”) at 2:30 p.m. May 2 at the Sandler Arts Center, 201 S. Market St. in Virginia Beach. Tickets: $35. . . . Gerard Schwarz conducts the VSO, with soprano Aundi Maria Moore, in a Virginia Arts Festival-sponsored, all-American program of works TBA by Copland, Barber and Still at 7:30 p.m. May 14 at Christopher Newport University’s Ferguson Arts Center in Newport News and 7:30 p.m. May 15 at Chrysler Hall, 215 St. Paul’s Boulevard, in Norfolk. Tickets: $35-$55. Details: (757) 892-6366;

Other Virginia Arts Festival classical events: The Brentano String Quartet in an evening concert at 7:30 p.m. May 10 at the VAF Bank Street stage, 440 Bank St. in Norfolk (tickets: $35-$140), and a morning concert at 10:30 a.m. May 11 at Sandler Arts Center in Virginia Beach (tickets: $15-$20). . . . A May 13 recital by classical guitarist Manuel Barrueco is sold out. . . Pianist Olga Kern, violinist Lara St. John and cellist Amanda Forsyth perform at 7:30 p.m. May 25 at VAF Bank Street Stage in Norfolk (tickets: $35-$140), and in a morning concert at 10:30 a.m. May 26 at Sandler Arts Center in Virginia Beach (tickets: $15-$20). Programs TBA. Details: (757) 282-2822;

Other ensembles in Virginia and the Washington area are presenting series of streamed and archived programs. Check the websites of organizations and presenters for details and access procedures.