The Elmar Oliveira International Violin Competition (Boca Raton, Florida, USA), took place during January 14 through 26.
19-year-old Julian Rhee (USA) won first place.
Second place was Jun Min Choi (Korea), age 25
Third place was Igor Khukhua (Russia), age 27
Another finalist, Vikram Francesco Sedona (Italy), 19, was awarded Honorable Mention.
Of the four finalists, three played the Brahms Concerto and one played Saint-Saens.
Based on the choice of repertoire, one might think that the winner is one of those who played Brahms.
However, the winner, Rhee, played the Saint-Saens, not Brahms.
I haven’t had a chance to watch his performance, but it must have been great!
Many of my students, (and probably many others), want to play Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Sibelius and Beethoven and go for competitions with them.
I appreciate their great enthusiasm.
And if one is capable of, it’s wonderful to approach those big works at a young age, and then come back to them many times in order to deepen their understanding and perform them comfortably.
However, if one really wants to establish solid technique and deep understanding of music, one needs to study many different kinds of music, preferably not only concertos, but also unaccompanied works, chamber music, and orchestral repertoire.
I am reluctant to say that many young students and their parents think that playing a difficult work will bring resuls in winning at competitions.
I think that the students who is talented, especially should focus on growing strong roots in the ground first in order to make their flowers and fruit to be big and of high quality.
Of course, Rhee is younger than everyone else, and his future possibility may have been considered. However, I would like many students to be informed of the fact that 19-year-old Rhee, who played Saint-Saens, won this competition. And I’d like students to think, as well as be inspired.