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Evaluation of 61st Kocian Violin Competition

66 violinists (initially 74) from 19 countries took part in 61st Kocian Violin Competition. A certain decline was supposed after the 60th jubilee but no way, the record of participants was broken. However, only 22 participants from the Czech Republic could be an issue.

The international jury consisted again of 4 Czech and 3 foreign judges. To name, except me, Bohuslav Matousek, Dana Vlachova, Pravoslav Kohout, Canadian tutor from Toronto Conrad Chow, well known Daniel Glineur from Belgium and Savelii Shalman from Petersburg who made himself famous throughout Violin Academies and his composition adaptations.

Assessment of each category:

1st category, traditionally one-round, is characterized a higher age range. Mongolia was even represented by a 6 year girl, Badrakh Nasanjargal, who was doing well and was given a Certificate of Merit 1st grade. We hope to hear from her as she can come in the 1st category at least twice. We are trying our best to divide prices so that everyone could get a Certificate of Merit which supports further violinist development. Unfortunatelly, our reps were missing the leading positions. We wondered if young violinists could handle a piece of Bohuslav Martinu and we were kindly surprised by excellent interpretations.

As for results – clear 1st price for a musical Swiss Estelle Presler, who best performed Sonatina of B. Martinu. 2nd price was awarded to Anna Katarina Tralla from Estonia and Yesui Tulgat from Mongolia and 3rd price for Yaroslava Stepanenko from the Ukraine. The other violinists match the same quality therefore so many Certificates of Merit.

Preludium and Allegro in Pugnani style was a compulsory piece of 2nd category.

We had a great hope in 5 Czechs but 2nd round only Milan Kostelenec survived as he is experienced, played with P. Sporcl. But his performance was not as confident as last year. Probably Bach Sonata was not the best choice. Despite these facts he and Sofia Vasecka from Latvia got the highest points. So the 1st price was not awarded and 2nd price was divided.

But violinists keep making unsuitable choice of pieces (especially Bach, Mozart) and we blame teachers not violinists themselves.

Whatsmore, measuring exact time is the issue. For example an Italian Nicola Cicchino appeared only 6 minutes. What a shame, he performed well but could perform much more.

During listening this category I noticed a fundamental thing. About 3 or 4 young violinists came on the stage with their untuned instruments. At their age they are not able to tune up instruments perfectly. I turn to teachers to check it up and help before the performance. There will always be tuning 442Hz so at the backstage you can easily do it via an electronic tuner.

3rd category was the best in quality, we heard a lot of excellent pieces. But the performance of Daniel Matejca stood over all, particularly in Sibelius concert and Ysaÿe Sonata. It was nearly professional, musical and faultless. He has got a straightforward aim and professional leadership. A Polish violinist Milena Pioruńska was the only one who was approaching to his quality and she attracted attention by Prokofjev 1st concert. The other violinists were in balance so we awarded four 3rd prices.

The compulsory piece of 4th category was Serenade D dur by Jaroslav Kocian. The best performance award went to Lithuania thanks to Ugnė Katinskaite, who finally won in this category with a Tchaikovsky concert.

Generally, I was missing a distinguishing personality. My plus can be seen in a fact that 5 violinists from Prague appeared in the second round out of total 11 participants.

The choice of laureate was pretty easy and the jury agreed in unison.

Daniel Matejca performs professionally, focuses on his pieces. At his age he has got rich concert experience and choice of music was made to measure.

Generally speaking, the level is really high and Kocian Violin Competition is attended by the best violinists and we could not see poor appearance.

As for compulsory pieces for next year, we are coming back to Czech ones.

Kocian and Martinu pieces can be attractive mainly for young violinists as the financial award will be set again for the best performance.

Compulsory pieces for the 62nd Kocian Violin Competition are as follows:

1st category: Antonin Dvorak: Sonate in G Major, op. 100, 1st movement
2nd category: Jaroslav Kocian: Spring song, op. 19, No 2
3rd category: Bohuslav Martinu: Arabesques No 4, 6 and 7
4th category: Josef Suk: Un poco triste and Burleska (of 4 pieces for violin and piano op. 17)

Please watch websites of the competition, you will always find interesting news.

MgA. Pavel Hula, the chairman of jury 2019