Sion Violin Music Foundation – Today, Tuesday 29 August 2017, three young violinists performed on the Ferme-Asile stage to competed in the finale of the 2017 International Violin Tibor Varga Competition, after successfully qualifying through the three previous rounds. Instead of a first prize there were two joint winners – Stella Chen and Saki Tozawa – who shared the Prix de la Loterie Romande. Julie Svěcená, came third, winning the Prix de L’Etat du Valais. Three further awards were also presented on the night.
The city of Sion has been resonating with the sound of excellent, young violinists from around the world for the past week. This Tuesday evening, in front of a full house at Farm-Asile, the all-female final took place with three finalists from three continents: Asia (Saki Tozawa), North America (Stella Chen) and Europe (Julie Svěcená). Accompanied by the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, as well as violist and jury member Miguel Da Silva for the interpretation of the 2nd movement of Mozart’s Symphonie Concertante, and conducted by Gabor Takács-Nagy, they all demonstrated the virtuosity of this new generation of musicians.
At the end of an intense final, the international Jury, chaired by Enzo Restagno and comprised of Lera Auerbach, Miguel Da Silva, Esther Hoppe, Dong-suk Kang, Silvia Marcovici and Pavel Vernikov, decided not to award the Grand Prix de la ville de Sion, the first prize. Given the difficulty in separating the performances of Stella Chen (USA, 24) and Saki Tozawa (Japan, 16), the jury decided to instead award two second prizes, Prix de la Loterie Suisse romande (10’000CHF), ex æquo. Stella Chen, a PhD student at the Julliard School of Music, demonstrated a range of emotional variations in her performance of Beethoven’s concerto. The young Saki Tozawa, who is pursuing her studies at the famous University of Arts in Tokyo, impressed the jury with her highly technical performance of Mendelssohn’s concerto. Julie Svěcená, (Czech Republic, 23), who won the third prize, Prix de L’Etat du Valais (5’000CHF), exhibited precision and energy during her performance of Shostakovich’s concerto. A “Youth Jury” comprised of 5 students in non-professional classes of the Cantonal Conservatory had the difficult task of awarding its own prize. Coached by the cellist Mikayel Hakhnazaryan, this jury officiated from the 3rd round of the competition in order to award its prize. After a long deliberation, Saki Tozawa was awarded the Youth Jury Prize for the quality of her various performances.
One of the specificities of the Tibor Varga International Violin Competition is to commission a contemporary composer to create a new piece for the competition. This year Lera Auerbach, a young and brilliant composer of Russian origin, wrote the work “Trio No. 4 for violin, cello and piano”. This was played for the first time on Sunday 27 August 2017 by the participants in the 3rd round. The composer was seduced by the subtle interpretation of Stella CHEN (USA) and the jury awarded her the Tibor Varga Prize for the best interpretation of this compulsory piece.
The audience of the Ferme-Asile was also given the right to choose its favourite candidate at the end of the night.Stella Chen was the one that most impressed the Sion audience, with her brilliant and especially playful interpretation of Bethoveen earn1ing her both the Audience Award and a standing ovation at the end of her performance.
Tonight, the conclusion drawn by the board of the Sion Violin Music Foundation at the end of this third edition of the new reunified version of the Competition was extremely positive. The Tibor Varga International Violin Competition both enabled the audience to discover new, young violinists as well as the latter to enrich their performance experience. As a reminder: the next Tibor Varga International Violin Competition will take place in August 2019. The dates will be confirmed during 2018.