Eight eventful days, seven concerts, countless happy faces. Thursday evening resounded to positive feedback on the fifth Violin Masterclasses & Concerts from violin professors Ana Chumachenco, Miriam Fried, Boris Kuschnir and Mihaela Martin, the violin and bow makers who had travelled to us from all over Germany, the many, many people in the audiences and the 160 or so international students. The disappointment of the young violinists who were not among the 53 “active” students had long been dispelled. After all, once again this year there was a lot on offer for “passive” students. Not just the opportunity to sit in on 124 public tuition sessions with four different teaching styles. They were also able to try out combinations of classical music, jazz and tango in the workshops given by Gilles Apap and Volker, play short concerts “on the fringe” and seek advice in the career development workshop. They found out how reading scores can be easier with apps and tablets and how skillful adjustment of the strings can affect the sound of the violin. Four young female violinists and two male violinists took valuable prizes home with them. At the final concert given by the masterclass students, they were the recipients of the Manfred Grommek Prize, the Prince of Hesse Prize and the Ana Chumachenco Award.
The 2017 Manfred Grommek Prize worth €10,000 was shared by 26-year-old Niek Baar from the Netherlands and 20-year-old Tatjana Roos from Great Britain. Niek Baar is currently studying with Christoph Poppen in Munich and was taught at the Violin Masterclasses by Mihaela Martin. Tatjana Roos has studied with Boris Kuschnir, for example, and was taught in Kronberg by Miriam Fried. The Manfred Grommek-Prize has been awarded by the Jürgen Frei Music Foundation in Bad Soden since 2009 and is named after the person who donated the prize, a citizen of Bad Soden who died in 2007.
The 2017 Prince of Hesse Prize was shared by Dmytro Udovychenko from Ukraine and María Dueñas Fernández from Spain, who is just 14 years old. Seventeen-year-old Dmytro Udovychenko is studying with Boris Garlitsky at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen; he was taught during the Violin Masterclasses by Ana Chumachenco. María Dueñas Fernández is a junior student at the Music and Arts Private University of the City of Vienna; she was taught during the Violin Masterclasses by Boris Kuschnir. The Prince of Hesse Prize, which has been awarded since 2009, was presented by Donatus, Landgrave of Hesse and is worth €2,500. The promotional prize is not awarded to the best violinists at the Masterclasses, but to up-and-coming young musicians who – as stated in the award rules – have been singled out on account of their “special musical ability, special perceptive insight, talent and hard work and hence recognisably great artistic potential”.
Lara Boschkor, who was awarded the Prince of Hesse Prize two years ago, gave evidence of where that potential can lead. This year she won the Ana Chumachenco Award. The 17-year-old German national has been following Kronberg Academy’s Precollege programme since 2015; the programme is run in cooperation with Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts. She is taught by Erik Schumann. Lara Boschkor shared the €2,500 in prize money with 21-year-old Carla Inés Marrero Martínez, who is currently studying with Friedemann Eichhorn at the Franz Liszt University of Music in Weimar. During the Violin Masterclasses, both young violinists were taught by Ana Chumachenco.
The prizewinners María Dueñas Fernández and Tatjana Roos were joined In the richly varied final concert by Yesong Sophie Lee from the USA (aged 13, masterclass with Ana Chumachenco) and Katherine Arndt (aged 20, masterclass with Ana Chumachenco), Mahiru Moriyama (aged 16, masterclass with Mihaela Martin) and Saki Tozawa from Japan (aged 16, masterclass with Ana Chumachenco) and their fellow-countryman Ryusuke Suho (aged 21, masterclass with Ana Chumachenco), Julen Zelaia Zia from Spain (aged 22, masterclass with Miriam Fried) and Tassilo Probst from Germany (aged 14, masterclass with Boris Kuschnir). The concert included works by Camille Saint-Saens, Paul Hindemith, Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Sergei Prokofiev, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Gabriel Fauré, Richard Strauss and Henryk Wieniawski.