A new path for young musicians: the Tibor Junior competition

Born from the enthusiasm and energy of Professor Pavel Vernikov, the Tibor Junior International Violin Competition is celebrating its inaugural edition this year, characterized by strong technical and musical skills, and considerable public and professional success. Designed and organized by Professor Vernikov, later joined by Maestro Gidon Kremer, this new competition offers an innovative program for young violinists aged between 14 and 17. Indeed, the very notion of “competition” is paradoxical when it comes to music as even though the concepts of confrontation and classification are usually associated with sport and somewhat undermine the artistic depth required for virtuosic performances, there is nevertheless a certain ‘competitiveness’ at the heart of the daily practice of each musician: a constant judging and comparing of their skills to their ideals.

The underlying philosophy of the Tibor Junior competition is based on the following principles. Firstly, the guaranteed anonymity of the participants. The jury knows only the names, ages and nationalities of the candidates and has no access to their background or the identity of their teachers. They are thus judged as artists in their own right, and not as the products of their teacher. The musical programme, though being of a high standard, is rather flexible, asking candidates to perform a mix of obligatory pieces and personal choices. There is an emphasis on contemporary music, aimed at exposing young violinists to the music of their time and encouraging them to confront it with rigor rather than to confine themselves to a standard repertoire.

Another important aspect of the competition is the duets, played either with another candidate or with a member of the Jury, that feature in each round. This unusual addition places focus on communication, both sharing and listening, and puts the music, not the musician’s ego, at the forefront – something that is important to convey to artists at the dawn of their careers. At an educational level, the duet with one of the jury members also offers a magnificent learning opportunity for the candidates. This notion of “collaboration” with the Jury is also embodied by the fact that the eliminated candidates automatically join the ranks of the jurors for the following rounds. This provides an opportunity for these candidates to interact and exchange ideas with prestigious soloists and teachers whilst also developing their critical listening skills. The voice of these young jurors will also count towards the final decision along with that of the orchestra, since the last particularity of the “Tibor Junior” competition is that the candidates perform with an orchestra each round!

It should also be noted that the educational goals of the competition are further highlighted by the organization of various masterclasses on the sidelines of the competition, which are aimed at further enriching the experience of the participating emerging artists.

14 candidates of 11 nationalities participated in the final phase of the competition, which took place from 23 – 29 August in Sion (Switzerland).

Composition of the Jury:

  • Ana Chumachenco (Germany/Argentina)
  • Yuzuko Horigome (Japan)
  • Miroslava Kotorovich (Ukraine)
  • Gidon Kremer (Latvia)
  • Kyung Sun Lee (South Korea)
  • Svetlin Roussev (Bulgaria)
  • Pavel Vernikov (Israel/Switzerland)
  • 1 vote from the Kremerata Baltica
  • 1 vote from the young jury

The results from the competition were as follows:

  • FIRST PRIZE: Masha Lakisova (USA)
  • SECOND PRIZE: Iris Scialom (France)
  • EQUAL THIRD PRIZE: Arthur Traelnes (Switzerland) and Qingzhu Weng (China)

There were also four additional prizes awarded:

  • Audience Award: Arthur Traelnes (Switzerland)
  • Invitation to perform with Kremerata Baltica Chamber Orchestra in Latvia: Arthur Traelnes (Switzerland)
  • Invitation to perform in the opening concert of the Il Piccolo Violino Magico in 2019: Masha Lakisova (USA)
  • SVM Foundation Prize: Ju Seon Kim (South Korea)