Bringing an American Flavor to the Menuhin Competition

a young violinist performingThough the great 20th century violinist and music educator Yehudi Menuhin was born in New York City, the Menuhin Competition has never before been hosted in the US, let alone in North America. Held in a different city around the world every two years, the competition has previously been hosted in London, England; Cardiff, Wales; Oslo, Norway; and, in 2012, Beijing, China. The Menuhin Competition Austin 2014 marks the first time in the event’s 30-year history that it will come to America.

America and Texas in particular will be well represented at the competition. Of the 42 competitors, 16 are Americans. Two of the competitors currently reside in Texas: Twelve-year-old Claire Wells of Plano studies with Sandy Yamamoto of the acclaimed Butler School-based Miró Quartet, and Chinese international student Hao Miao is a University of North Texas undergraduate.

Butler School of Music faculty figure prominently into the competition. The nine-member international jury counts Butler School professors Brian Lewis and Anton Nel, as well as Butler School visiting lecturer David Kim, concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra. In addition, American Pamela Frank, professor of violin at the Curtis School of Music, will serve as chair of the jury. Competition rounds will feature the world premieres of newly commissioned works by Butler School faculty members for solo violin, both with a Texas theme: for the seniors, Donald Grantham’s “Black-eyed Suzy”; and for the juniors, Dan Welcher’s “The Cowboy and the Rattlesnake.”

The competition’s finals will include the finalists’ choice of a virtuoso work accompanied by the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra (for the juniors) and the Austin Symphony Orchestra (for the seniors). Once all results have been announced, the 10-day competition will culminate with the Closing Gala Concert on Sunday, March 2 at the Long Center featuring the Cleveland Orchestra — one of the most renowned orchestras in the US and appearing in Austin for the first time since 1976 — conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero.

In addition to ticketed events, the competition also boasts an impressive number of free events, including the Texas-themed “Yehudi Goes to Texas: Fiddle Celebration,” headlined by Austin fiddling phenom Ruby Jane. This outdoor patio concert at the Long Center on Saturday, March 1 also features Mary Hattersley’s Blazing Bows, where fiddlers ages four and up take the stage to showcase the future of Texas fiddling.

The Menuhin Competition competitors will be hosted by Austin families. Host families are still needed, so show some of that famous Texas hospitality by volunteering today!


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The Menuhin Competition – the Olympics of the Violin – Takes Place in the U.S. for the First Time

Menuhin Competition in Austin

AUSTIN, Texas (June 27, 2013)  – The Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists will take place for the first time in the United States from Friday, February 21, 2014, through Sunday, March 2, 2014. The 10-day festival at the University of Texas at Austin Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music, in partnership with the College of Fine Arts and Texas Performing Arts, features a competition between some of the world’s best violinists under the age of 22 as well as concerts, master classes and community activities with elite-level national and international performers.

The week-and-a-half long celebration concludes with a Closing Gala Concert showcasing the acclaimed Cleveland Orchestra. The concert, conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero and featuring soloist Arabella Steinbacher, takes place at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 2, at the Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 West Riverside Drive. The Cleveland Orchestra, returning to Austin for the first time since 1976, is one of the most sought-after performing ensembles in the world.

The Menuhin Competition’s nine-member jury panel, who will each perform a concert and give a public master class, is comprised of some of the top musicians, performers and teachers in the international music community: Pamela Frank, Chair (USA), Joji Hattori, Vice-Chair (Japan), Olivier Charlier (France), Ilya Gringolts (Russia), David Kim (USA), Lü Siqing (China), Steinbacher (Germany) and the Butler School of Music’s own Anton Nel (South Africa/USA) and Brian Lewis (USA).

The Menuhin Competition, which has recently helped launch the careers of Julia Fischer, Nikolaj Znaider and Daishin Kashimoto, kicks off with an Opening Concert by the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m. Friday, February 21, at the Long Center. The Butler School of Music’s Director of Orchestral Activities, Gerhardt Zimmermann, conducts the concert that will feature soloists Nel, Charlier and Gringolts.

The Junior Finals at 7:30 p.m. Friday, February 28, at the Butler School of Music’s Bates Recital Hall, 2406 Robert Dedman Drive, features the Zimmermann-conducted UT Symphony Orchestra along with competitors representing the world’s most talented violinists under the age of 22. The Senior Finals event at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 1, at the Long Center features top young violinists accompanied by the Austin Symphony Orchestra and conductor Peter Bay, Music Director of the Austin Symphony Orchestra.

Along with competitions and concerts, members of the Menuhin Competition jury and Cleveland Orchestra will teach master classes to competitors and University of Texas students at the Butler School of Music and Bates Recital Hall.

Glenn Richter, Interim Director of the University of Texas at Austin Butler School of Music, says the Menuhin Competition will increase Austin’s already rich standing as a classical music destination.

“With Austin serving as the first American host of the Menuhin Competition – which is to the violin like the Van Cliburn International Competition is to the piano – Austin will become an even more attractive destination city for classical music fans worldwide,” says Richter.

“You may think of Austin as the home of South by Southwest, Austin City Limits or even the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix race. Thanks to Texas Performing Arts, the Long Center for the Performing Arts, the Austin Symphony and our own University of Texas Butler School of Music, Austin is also a hub of innovation and excellence in the fine arts and classical music,” says Richter.

Tickets for the Opening Concert on February 21 and Closing Gala Concert with the Cleveland Orchestra on March 2 are available through a Texas Performing Arts 2013-2014 season subscription, which can be purchased by visiting or calling 512-471-4454. Individual event tickets for the Menuhin Competition will go on sale in September; visit for updates and details.

In the live music capital of the world, the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin offers comprehensive undergraduate and graduate programs addressing both the practical and theoretical disciplines that make the music industry so rich and diverse. The Butler School’s rich performance environment brings great music to both Austin and world stages, and access to the gifted faculty and students who engage their audiences.

What starts here changes the world. The World is listening.


Official Menuhin Competition Website

Menuhin Austin Competition

Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin Website

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Media Contact:

Claire Spera
Publicity Coordinator
Butler School of Music
+1 512-471-1139

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The Menuhin Competition Austin 2014 is now open for applications

With an outstanding international jury, exciting repertoire and internationally renowned and acclaimed collaborators, the first ever Menuhin Competition to be held in the U.S. invites the most talented young violinists from all over the globe to come to Austin in 2014.

The competition is now open for applications. Application deadline is October 7, 2013.

Information about how to apply can be found on the Menuhin Competition’s official website.