Just five weeks ahead of the 2014 Menuhin Competition - the world's most prestigious competition for violinists, taking place this year in Austin, Texas – plans were announced last night for the 2016 event, marking the centenary of Yehudi Menuhin's birth. The Competition will take place in London, where Menuhin lived for much of his life, and will be hosted by the Royal Academy of Music and the Southbank Centre. BBC Radio 3 will also broadcast many of the heats during the ten-day event. Partner orchestras for the competition are the Philharmonia, BBC Concert Orchestra and National Youth Orchestra.
The Menuhin Competition was launched in 1983 and has played a major role in the careers of many violinists including Tasmin Little, Julia Fischer, Janine Jansen, Ilya Gringolts, Nikolaj Znaider, Ray Chen and Chad Hoopes. Most of these major players emerged, interestingly, in the Junior category (under 16) rather than the Seniors (under 22).
In a video message the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said 'This exciting showcase of some of the best young violinists from across the globe will be a feast for music fans, which I hope will inspire other gifted young people in the capital and across the country.'
The American Chad Hoopes, winner of the Junior category in 2008 aged only 13, performed at the launch event at London's City Hall with players from the Royal Academy. He has recently signed a contract with the 2012 Gramophone Label of the Year, Naïve, and his first recording will be released this spring - a unique coupling of violin concertos by Mendelssohn and John Adams (Kristjan Järvi conducts the MDR Radio Symphony Orchestra from Leipzig).
In launching the Competition in 1983, Yehudi Menuhin said that 'Our young gifted violinists will be the ambassadors of goodwill, for they come with pure hearts and music in their souls. It is in those younger people that we invest our future.'