Competition 2021 Updates and Competitor Podcast


Competitors & Guest Artists Returning, VPM Announces Podcast

May 11, 2020 - The Menuhin Competition, often called “The Olympics of the Violin,” was scheduled to bring the best young violinists in the world to Richmond, VA this month, but in March, organizers were forced to reschedule the international event due to COVID-19. Today, the Menuhin Competition Trust and the Richmond Symphony, on behalf of the consortium of co-host institutions, is thrilled to announce that almost all of those who intended to participate in Richmond 2020 have committed to Richmond 2021, which will take place May 13-23, 2021. All 44 of the extraordinary young violinists from 18 countries who had been invited to the Competition in 2020, and six of the nine jurors, have committed to the 2021 Competition. All of the co-host institutions—City of Richmond, Richmond Symphony, University of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University and VPM—will continue as co-hosts for the 2021 event, and all of the stellar artists scheduled to appear in guest performances—including Regina Carter, Mark & Maggie O’Connor, and TwoSet Violin—have committed to participate in 2021 as well.

To honor the Competition (originally scheduled for May 14-24, 2020), VPM, Virginia’s home for public media and one of the Richmond co-hosts, will unveil Making Menuhin, an original podcast series introducing audiences to some of the talented young musicians heading to the Menuhin Competition Richmond 2021. Making Menuhin will launch on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, exactly one year in advance of the 2021 Competition.

Menuhin Competition Richmond 2021

The Menuhin Competition, the world’s leading international competition for young violinists, is held every two years in a different location and brings together 44 of the world’s most extraordinary young violinists - 22 Juniors (ages 15 and under) and 22 Seniors (ages 21 and under). The Competition offers the remarkable young musicians who participate an immersion in music—among peers, mentors and audiences—with concerts by jurors, past winners and artists-in-residence; workshops and masterclasses; panel discussions; and the opportunity to share their music with the local community through a variety of engagement activities.

Each iteration of the Menuhin Competition is uniquely shaped by the city in which it takes place, with a unique mix of co-host institutions, jurors, artists-in-residence and the young violinists who participate in the eleven-day event. In Richmond, all the elements that had been woven together for 2020 have now been carefully reconvened for 2021.

“The Governor and I are pleased that, despite delays caused by COVID-19, Virginia will have the honor of hosting the prestigious and much-anticipated Menuhin Competition in 2021,” said First Lady Pamela Northam. “Virginia looks forward to sharing the marvels of our capital city with the many talented young musicians and visitors that the ‘Olympics of the Violin’ will surely bring. I have no doubt that Richmond 2021 will be the best competition year yet.”

“Good things come to those who wait – and we can’t wait to host the Menuhin Competition in 2021,” said Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. “We’re looking forward to showcasing the best of Richmond to the rest of the world by making these extraordinarily talented young violinists feel right at home in the first-class cultural and entertainment center of Virginia. Richmond and Menuhin in 2021 will make beautiful music together.”

All 44 competitors who had been selected for the 2020 Competition in Richmond are planning to attend in 2021. They will be using the same repertoire and will participate in the same division for which they qualified in 2020, even if they age out in the intervening year.

Seven of the nine esteemed jurors—representing the highest caliber of educational institutions, orchestras, and competition circuits—are planning to remain on the jury for 2021: violinist Pamela Frank (Chair), violinist and conductor Joji Hattori (Vice-Chair), violinist Noah Bendix-Balgley, violinist and entrepreneur Aaron Dworkin, cellist Ralph Kirshbaum, and violinist Soyoung Yoon. Jurors Ning Feng and Anton Nel are unable to attend, and their spots on the 2021 jury will be filled by American-based Chinese violinist and previous 1st prizewinner of the 2010 Menuhin Competition, Angelo Xiang Yu, and London-based Australian pianist Piers Lane, renowned for his solo and chamber performances and recently appointed Artistic Director of the Sydney International Piano Competition.

The artists-in-residence are a critical part of the Competition, providing a diverse and complementary series of concerts and educational activities throughout the Competition. These established touring artists have all committed to participating in the rescheduled 2021 competition, including the Sphinx Virtuosi, Mark & Maggie O’Connor and Regina Carter; wellness experts Howard Nelson and Intermission; the classical comedy YouTube duo TwoSet Violin; and conductors Jahja Ling and Andrew Litton. In addition, National Public Radio host Fred Child will again be Master of Ceremonies for the closing weekend.

VPM's Making Menuhin Podcast

In honor of the Menuhin Competition and the competitors, VPM presents Making Menuhin, an original podcast that introduces listeners to the talented young musicians who will now be participating in the Competition next year. The first of nine episodes will be released on May 13, 2020, one year ahead of the rescheduled 2021 Competition. The podcast is hosted by Sarah Huebsch Schilling, classical music host at VPM Music, musician and director of Interlochen’s Early Music Workshop.

“We are thrilled to be part of Menuhin 2021, and excited to kick off the countdown to next year. We hope the Making Menuhin podcast will not only keep the competition alive for its fans and supporters, but also offer inspiration as the world faces the challenges of dealing with the pandemic,” said Steve Humble, Chief Content Officer at VPM.    

The podcast dives deeply into the lives of the extraordinary young violinists from around the world who have been selected for the Menuhin Competition, and explores how they got started, the teachers who inspired them, the sacrifices they’ve made and what they hope to express through their music. “Music in my life opened doors to a lot of possibilities,” says Brazil’s Guido Sant’Anna. “And I can't really imagine a life that I wouldn't be playing violin.”

Making Menuhin will be available at and distributed on all major podcast platforms.

Podcast Schedule

All the participating violinists are Richmond 2021 competitors unless otherwise noted.

Wed, May 13       Maya Anjali Buchanan, South Dakota 

Fri, May 15          Matthew Hakkarainen, Florida

Wed, May 20       Keila Wakao, Massachusetts

Fri, May 22          Tianyu Liu, China

Wed, May 27       Kerson Leong, Canada (winner of the Oslo 2010 Junior 1st Prize)

Fri, May 29          Shannon Ma, California

Mon, Jun 1          Raphael Nussbaumer, Switzerland, and Guido Sant'Anna, Brazil

Wed, Jun 3          Kayleigh Kim, Virginia

Fri, Jun 5             Hiroki Kasai, United Kingdom

VPM's A Menuhin Showcase

In addition to the Making Menuhin podcast, VPM is presenting A Menuhin Showcase on VPM PBS, Facebook and YouTube on May 14, 2020 at 9:00 pm EDT – the same night that would have been the Opening Gala Concert of the Richmond 2020 Competition. It will feature performances from the 2018 Competition Junior Finals in Geneva, Switzerland from Christian Li and Chloe Chua (Junior 1st prize co-winners) - the same extraordinary violinists who will be in Richmond in 2021. The program will also include a performance from Kerson Leong (Junior 1st prizewinner in Oslo 2010) with the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra recorded in May 2019. The showcase will be available online after the broadcast.


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