44 participants selected following a record-breaking number of applications
Participants come from 16 countries and 5 continents, representing 17 nationalities
Over 90% of participants began playing the violin before the age of 5
Menuhin Competition to take place in Geneva 12-22 April

LONDON – January 15 – Following a record-breaking number of applications, the Menuhin Competition – the world’s leading international competition for young violinists – today reveals the 44 violinists selected to compete. Participants come from 16 countries and 5 continents, representing 17 nationalities, with 46% from Asia, 35% from USA, 15% from Europe and 4% from the rest of the world. Brazil and Slovenia will be represented by competitors for the first time in the Menuhin Competition’s history. The average age of participants has dropped to 15 for the first time, with the youngest aged 10 and the oldest aged 21.

Founded by Yehudi Menuhin in 1983, the Competition is one of the most important events in the calendar for young violinists. The Competition offers an array of prizes to both Junior and Senior competitors including concert opportunities, courses and instrument loans, as well as cash prizes. In addition to the competition rounds, there are masterclasses, participatory activities, talks, collaborations, and a full programme of complementary concerts bringing together many world-class orchestras, ensembles and orchestras. The Competition acts as an important cultural ambassador, developing a stimulating atmosphere of exchange and sharing in a collaborative spirit, focusing on participation and learning rather than victory.

Applications for the Competition closed on 31 October 2017 following an unprecedented 317 applications from young violinists, a 6% increase from the 2016 Competition. Applicants were under 22 years old, from 38 different countries. Gordon Back, Artistic Director of the Competition and previous accompanist to Yehudi Menuhin, chaired the international pre-selection jury who selected the 44 competitors.

The United States presents the largest number of participants - 14, followed by South Korea with 9, Japan with 6 and China with 5. In the Junior category (under 16), 68% of the participants are female, and in the Senior category (16-21), 70% are male. More than 90% of the participants began playing the violin before the age of 5.

Gordon Back, Artistic Director commented: “This is going to be an exceptional event in Geneva! The pre-selection jury and I were particularly impressed by the technical and artistic level of the candidates. For the youngest among them, the Competition will be their first international experience, and we are absolutely delighted to give them the opportunity of participating in this event which is all about cultural connection, exchange and learning.”

Highlights include:
Opening Concert with Marin Alsop conducting the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Junior and Senior Finals at the Victoria Hall with the Geneva Chamber Orchestra and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra respectively
Appearances by leading artists such as Julian Rachlin and previous prizewinners
Performance by the world-class 2018 jury members; Pamela Frank, Itamar Golan, Ilya Gringolts, Joji Hattori, Henning Kraggerud, Lu Siqing, Josef Špaček, Maxim Vengerov, and Soyoung Yoon
Jazz events and more in collaboration with many of the leading cultural and broadcasting organisations of Geneva Two participants are currently studying in the UK:
Kyota Kakiuchi (Japan, 14)
Kyota Kakiuchi started playing the violin at the age of two and half, moving to the UK when he was 10 to study at the Yehudi Menuhin School. He has been a prize winner at Hanamazuki Arts Festival (1st Prize, 2010), the Anna Ono Cup Competition (1st Prize, 2012), and the Kariya International Music Competition (2nd Prize, 2015). He has played in lots of solo concerts and with professional orchestras as a soloist, giving numerous concerts in the UK, Italy, Austria and Japan. He has studied the violin with Akiko Ono, Takaya Urakawa, and Rodolfo Bonucci.
Tianyou Ma (China, 17)
Tianyou Ma was born in 2000 in Shenzhen, China and began to play violin when he was three. Following a move to Australia, he gave several concerto performances with the Adelaide Youth Orchestra. After studying with Keith Crellin, he joined the Yehudi Menuhin School in September 2014, where he studies with Diana Galvydyte. He has performed widely as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player, and has won prizes at the Postacchini Violin Competition and the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts International Summer Academy.

How the Competition works
The participants compete during the various rounds, which take place at the Centre des arts de l’Ecole internationale (Junior and Senior first rounds 13-16 April) and at the Conservatoire of Geneva (Junior and Senior semi-finals 17 & 18 April). These events are public and take place before an international jury made up of nine internationally recognised musicians. The Junior Finalists perform with the Geneva Chamber Orchestra and the Senior Finalists with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Julian Rachlin. Winners from both sections perform in the Closing Gala Concert together with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Maxim Vengerov.


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