Every four years, Indianapolis becomes the nexus of the violin world. The IVCI draws violinists and violin aficionados from around the world. My awareness of the competition goes back to 1998 when I studying the cello at Butler University. I became further aware and connected to the competition when my roommate from the Aspen Music Festival in 1997 because a laureate of the competition in 2006. He has not gone on to assume the role of Concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic. To say the list of IVCI winners reads like a “who’s who” in the violin world is an understatement. I can’t describe the competition any better than the summary on the website:
Remarkable performances, extraordinary prizes and a festival atmosphere characterize the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis (IVCI) as “the ultimate violin contest…” writes the Chicago Tribune. Laureates of “The Indianapolis” have emerged as outstanding artists in concert halls across the globe.
“For seventeen days every four years, Indianapolis is the most important place to be if you are a rising violin talent. Forty of the world’s brightest talents come here to perform some of the most beautiful music ever written before enthusiastic audiences. The repertory of the IVCI establishes an especially broad survey of the violin at performances throughout the city including the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center and Hilbert Circle Theatre, where finalists perform with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. “Violin fever” describes this “truly remarkable violin experience,” according to the London-based magazine The Strad.
After the debut of the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis in 1982, it was recognized by the World Federation of International Music Competitions, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. Under the guidance of Thomas J. Beczkiewicz, Founding Director, and the late Josef Gingold, who had served on the juries of every major violin competition in the world, the IVCI became known by the musical and media communities as one of the world’s most compelling competitions. In 1994, the leadership of the Competition passed from Gingold to his most famous pupil, Jaime Laredo, one of the master musicians of our time. It has continued to attract the most distinguished jurors and the most talented applicants in the world, and it includes unique prize packages. Perhaps the most astonishing prize for an aspiring concert artist is the loan of the 1683 ex-Gingold Stradivari violin which is made available to one of the Laureates for the four years following the Competition.
“The Indianapolis” was designed to heighten the non-competitive aspects of the contest. This festival of the violin focuses on opportunities available to all participants: the chance to perform before large audiences; to measure one’s musical progress against the standards of a distinguished jury and the artistry of other talented players; and to enjoy career seminars during the competition.
Since 1982, Indianapolis has hosted nine Competitions and named fifty-four Laureates representing twenty-two countries to its distinguished roster of prize winners. They have emerged as outstanding solo and chamber music artists in concert halls around the globe, and as Concertmasters of some of the world’s leading ensembles. To read more about their remarkable careers, click here
Musicians and music lovers from all parts of the world focus their attention on Indianapolis and the International Violin Competition, regarded as the Western Hemisphere’s “Olympics of the Violin.” The Competition is a unique showcase for the world’s most gifted young violinists and a demonstration of Hoosier hospitality and American volunteerism.
Each Competition generates significant national and international media coverage for the artists and the city. The financial support of individuals, corporations, foundations and local government and the physical support of hundreds of volunteers make this event possible. The influence of the Competition continues through the performances of its winners for years afterward in cities of the world far from Indianapolis. Those who win uphold the tradition of quality and excellence which has made the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis one of the most prestigious music competitions in the world.”
The competition kicks off this Sunday!