52 violinists from 18 countries attended the 60th year of the KVC. There were originally 62 applications, but some of them did not attend in the end. However, it was still the most we had in the last years, which made us very happy. The problem of only 21 attendants from the Czech Republic remains.
Already two years before the jubilee, I had the wish to make a purely Czech jury from the previous winners and laureates of the competition. It was not easy: The Kocian’s competition has many great laureates that are excellent soloists or chamber players; therefore, it is not easy to find free dates for them. But I managed. Therefore, apart from me, in the jury, there were Bohuslav MATOUŠEK, Pavel ERET, Leoš ČEPICKÝ, Petr MACEČEK, Jan FIŠER and Petr MATĚJÁK.
The ratings of each category:
The 1st category was traditionally only one-round. This category is characterized by the bigger dispersion of age. Some are only starting while others seem like a starting professional violinist. This year’s 1st category was also the case. In this category, we often divide the prizes in regards of the support of the youngest ones, but this time, the three significantly differed from the others. The Canadian winner Emrik REVERMANN played Bruch like a great violinist; he was from Toronto, just like the winner from the year 2014! The second Teo GERTLER from Slovakia performed a pleasant and quality performance, he was also the best interpreter of the Kocian’s piece. The Mongolian Khanui ERDENEBAT got the 3rd prize, she was the best from the 7 Mongolians in this category. Therefore, in this category, we lost with Mongolia 3:7… This time, our representatives were not given the highest prizes; there were more of them participating, but that is more of a coincidence than a trend. All in all, I was satisfied with the quality of the 1st category.
In the 2nd category, there were two obligatory pieces, the Martinů’s Arietta and the Arabesque n.4. The Czechs are obviously happy about the two first prizes and the dispersion was fair. Therefore, there had to be the unpopular division of the first prize, but in regards of points, it came out in a way that we could not do anything else. Even the Swedish Harry Dai LIANG on the second place was just behind them! Therefore, he got the separate second prize. I liked him a lot, in my opinion, he will grow up to be a very good professional violinists. He still needs small corrections. Each of the Czech winners was slightly different in their interpretation, but it was only details. Last year, Milan KOSTELENEC won the youngest category and he already has some experiences; he played with Pavel Šporcl and his performance was certain. Jan NOVÁK pleasantly surprised us. When it comes to the third prizes, Vilém JIRSA, who is well-known in Ústí, managed another quality result; even the children’s jury liked him. The Bulgarian Slavina TENEVA performed a quality performance, maybe she had the disadvantage of playing the first. The last third prize and the attractive prize for the best performance of the piece by Bohuslav Martinů was gained by Alžběta DUSOVÁ. She caught our attention with her comprehension; Martinů calls for a lot of musicality, by which she appealed to us. There is still the issue with the choice of the pieces, sometimes the young violinists do not play, what is suitable for them. However, it is a problem of the teachers, not their pupils. The second category was weaker in some years, but this year, it was very good.
When it comes to the 3rd category, after the success of the piece by Sylvia Bodorová, we included a modern piece again, this time by Ondřej KUKALA with the title Aftenstud for solo violin dedicated to the Kocian’s competition. All the participants managed the piece, but there was no significant performance. Nevertheless, after the end of the second round, I was satisfied more. Practically all the performances significantly increased in comparison to the first round. The performance of Daniel MATĚJČA was almost professional, he could attend a competition for older violinists with it. His interpretation was flawless, musical. It is visible that he purposely goes forward, he has a quality leading. He also chose the repertoire well. The Belgian participants usually have quality, the in the end second Theodore KIM who did not appeal much to us in the first round, but he convinced us in the second round. Especially by the Wieniawski’s Variations on an original theme. The Serbians usually rely on the virtuoso technique, but their comprehension often lacks order. However, Andrej BALÁŽ also put the musicality into the technique. The choice of the repertoire maybe was not completely ideal. Another third prize went to the Bulgarian Iva MARTINOVÁ; she performed a playing pleasant for listening. Miss Emujin ENKHBAATAR is in my opinion the best violinists from the Mongolian delegation. She is getting better every year, she must delete small technical problems. Her professor Jargal Darizay is very caring of her pupils and she supports them a lot.
This time, the 4th category did not give us the answer to the question of the laureate. Even though we had a big birthday and waited for a huge discovery, it did not appear in the fourth category. I will be honest, a significant personality was missing; therefore, we did not give the first prize or the laureate title in the fourth category. It was not ideal after the first round; the obligatory Dvořák’s Mazurek was a bet in a lottery, but I am not afraid of it. It was here a few times before as an obligatory piece and the young violinists coped with it. However, this year, a little worse. David HERNYCH from Prague and Ivan VIRÁG from Slovakia shared the second prize. David played very well, but for the first prize, something was missing. The performance of the Slovakian violinist Virág was similar. The third prize was given to Natálie TOPERCZEROVÁ from Prague and Paula SASTRE from Spain. The violinist from Spain played very fiercely, but sometimes at the expense of the quality of the tone. But I am sure that she will appeal at the international competitions in the future. Natália Toperczerová made a good choice by including the home Smetana into her repertoire and she performed a quality and nice playing.
The choice of the laureate was not easy. In the jury, we kind of divided. We were choosing between the winner of the first and the third category; their performances were comparable. In the end, we decided to prefer the younger Canadian Emrik REVERMANN. I think that even this is a proof of the fairness of the purely Czech jury. Emrik played naturally, he has a great potential into the future. We do not have to be ashamed for giving the laureate title to the winner of the youngest category. After all, it is not the first nor the last time.
When it comes to the rating of the quality of the whole competition, we were used to saying that the quality keeps on increasing, but it does not always apply in the art. That is why, for example, we did not give the first prize in the fourth round. Already when I saw the repertoire of the fourth category, I had a feeling that there is nothing extra interesting. But everything can be different in a year. The overall quality of the competition was not bad. We will surely not lower on the quality of the obligatory pieces.
The Czechs, in the sports terminology, won three first, one second and three third prizes, which is a success with the small participation.
When it comes to the obligatory pieces for the next year, especially the pieces by Kocian and Martinů will be attractive for the young violinists because there will be a financial prize for the best performance of the pieces by these authors again.The obligatory pieces for the 61st year of the KVC are:
1st category: MARTINŮ: Sonatina G dur, 1st movement Moderato
2nd category: KREISLER: Preludium and Allegro in the style of Pugnani
3rd category: FALLA (arr. Kreisler): The Spanish dance
4th category KOCIAN: Serenade in D dur
Please, follow the website of the competition, you will surely find a variety of interesting things and news there.
MgA. Pavel Hůla, the chairman of the jury of the KVC