"Seventh Quadrennial IVCI – Preliminaries and Semi-finals
Indiana History Center
Sept. 3 – 10
The story of this year’s International Violin Competition of Indianapolis is the dominating presence of Asian women ... and girls (16 is the eligibility age). A week ago Sunday, the preliminaries began with 45 participants, and a two-to-one female/male ratio—exactly the same proportion as in the previous competition in 2002. But in that year, four of the six finalists were men. In this one there was only one man left in the field of 16 semi-finalists.
He is Augustin Hadelich, a 22-year-old German, but he deserves to be a finalist and a contender. He, along with three women, form the finest player collective the IVCI has ever seen. With all but four of the semi-finalists heard as I type this, I’ll stick my neck out and pick the following: Stephanie Jeong, 19, of the USA, whom I’ve only heard in the preliminaries, is the most deserving of the gold medal. Jeong’s account of Playera by Pablo de Sarasate was ravishing beyond belief. Then there is 20-year-old Anna Tifu (Italian) and 25-year-old Saeku Matsuyama (Japanese), who began both early rounds. These four players surpass all previous IVCI laureates save for a scattered few (i.e. Kavafian, Kavakos, David Kim, Milenkovich, Roussev, Ingolfsson — the only previous gold medalist—and Khachatryan). By the time you read this, you’ll know which of the four made it to the finals—and how off the mark I was.
Then, there was Indy’s own Eric Silberger, 17 years-old and son of Indianapolis Symphony first violinist Marc Silberger. He came on stage brandishing his instrument and “firing” it through his preliminary round selections with astonishing virtuosity. If he learns to temper his exuberance and “sing” a bit more, Silberger, clearly deserving to have been a semifinalist, already possesses the tonal qualities to be a gold medal contender here in four years. By the way, you can hear—and see—all 2006 IVCI performances to date, recorded on-line for at least the next several weeks, at www.violin.org.
Here’s the remaining IVCI schedule: Classical finals—tonight and Thursday at the Christel DeHaan Center, Romantic finals—Friday and Saturday at the Hilbert Circle Theatre and the Gala Awards ceremony in the Scottish Rite Cathedral Auditorium at 5 p.m. Sunday. Call 638-IVCI for information and 639-4300 for tickets.
Finalists, announced at press time, are: Simone Lamsma, Yura Lee, Ye-Eun Choi, Bella Hristova, Celesta Golden and Augustin Hadelich.