Updated 10:30 a.m. Feb. 27 — Menuhin Competition senior finalists are Stephen Kim, Christine Seohyun Lim, Stephen Waarts and In Mo Yang, competition officials have announced. The four will be progressing through to the final competition concert with Maestro Peter Bay and the Austin Symphony Orchestra.
Earlier: For the first time in its storied 30-year-history, the Menuhin International Violin Competition has this year landed in North America, choosing Austin, the self-proclaimed “Live Music Capital of the World” — never mind that the Austin boosters who dreamed up that “Live Music” moniker probably never had classical music in mind.
The Menuhin is something of the F1 of the violin world — as much a festival as a celebration of a select group of 42 exceedingly talented violinists ages 22 and younger.
The 10-day affair started this past weekend and continues all week with the further winnowing to a final nine of each group.
UT’s Butler School of Music is hosting the Menuhin and the final concert — featuring the renowned Cleveland Orchestra — takes place March 2 at the Long Center.
The competition and its various performances are being live streamed at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/menuhincompetition2014 . And the talent level of these young competitors is breathtaking to listen to.
In competition rounds, among virtuosic masterpieces, the violinists will play solo pieces specifically commissioned by the Menuhin from Austin composers. Tuesday for the junior finalists it’s “The Cowboy and the Rattlesnake” by Dan Welcher.
And on Wednesday its “Black-eyed Suzy” by Donald Grantham. And Granthan — who is like Welcher a UT music faculty member — charmingly describes “Black-eyed Suzy” as “a virtuosic free fantasy on an old country fiddle tune … counter-balanced by an original Delta blues style melody.”
And as a final Texas nod, the Menuhin will present fiddler phenom Ruby Jane in a free concert on the Long Center’s City Terrace at 5 p.m. March 1.