Isaac Stern Violin Competition jury named

Yao Minji
The 13-member jury of the biennial Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition was unveiled on Wednesday.
Yao Minji
Isaac Stern Violin Competition jury named
Ti Gong

The 13-member jury of the biennial Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition, chaired by the legendary violinist and educator’s son David Stern, was unveiled on Wednesday.

Main organizer, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, also announced a series of special events during the competition next year, in memory of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the master. 

Isaac Stern was among the first major international musicians to visit China as the country started reform and opening-up in 1979.

Qualified violinists from around the world can apply and submit performance videos at by January 20 of 2020. 

The top candidates will be invited to attend the competition in Shanghai August 4-25 next year.

Stern’s 1979 trip was recorded and turned into the Oscar-winning documentary “From Mao to Mozart” by Murray Lerner. It showed international audiences China's love of music.

Famed cellist Wang Jian, violinist Vera Tsu Weiling and Li Weigang, who will be on the jury, were among the children who performed in the documentary. 

Other jury members include legendary artist agent Martin Campbell-White, Grammy Award-winning Maxim Vengerov, music programming and management expert Emmanuel Hondre.

“A great musician, who had special relations with China, Stern helped many young Chinese onto the international stage,"  said Yu Long, artistic director of Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, who initiated the competition with the Stern family.

“When he visited 40 years ago, many Chinese felt curious, while there were also many things they didn’t understand. Today, it’s the other way around – many foreigners have misunderstandings about China.

“That requires us to tell better China stories, and this competition is one such example. 

"It is not only a music competition but also embodies Mr Stern’s contribution to the understanding of humanity through the medium of music.”

Each finalist is required to perform a Chinese concerto, which prompts them to learn about the stories and culture behind the music piece. The violinists become interpreters of Chinese culture while the jury members are their readers.

The symphony orchestra has commissioned Chinese-American composer Zhou Tian, nominee for 2018 Grammy Best Contemporary Classical Composition, to write a new piece for next year's competition.

The competition will also feature a concert themed “From Mao to Mozart,” many of those who performed before the master in the documentary and winners from all three competitions will perform on stage.

A photo exhibition of Stern will also be featured during the competition.

The jury for the 3rd Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition is David Stern, Vera Tsu Weiling, Martin Campbell-White, Glenn Dicterow (violinist), Emmanuel Hondre, Li Weigang, Ning Feng (violinist), Philip Setzer (violinist), Hagai Shaham (violinist), Joel Smirnoff (vioinist), Kyoko Takezawa (violinist), Maxim Vengerov and Wang Jian.

Isaac Stern Violin Competition jury named
Ti Gong

Yu Long, artistic director of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and famed violinist Vera Tsu Weiling, co-chair of the competition's jury, recall their memories of Isaac Stern.

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