Linus Roth
(c) Dan Carabas

After initiating a Chamber Music Festival on Ibiza, the violinist Linus Roth is now in full preparation for the 10th International Leopold Mozart Violin Competition in Augsburg. As artistic director, he considers a contemporary and holistic approach as fundamental, with Leopold Mozart – whose 300th birthday will be commemorated in 2019 – being a central focus.

Authenticity is of utmost importance for Linus Roth: “In this day and age it is essential to refrain from having students of the jurors participating in the competition”, and with this ground-breaking reform, he is bringing a fresh breeze to the Augsburg competition.

His most important concern however is “to discover true artistic personalities”. This requires technical perfection, as well as the ability to put together a program autonomously, to communicate ad hoc with unfamiliar chamber music partners and to overcome exceptional challenges, such as performing the commissioned composition by Elzbieta Sikora, which incorporates electronic music. “It will be thrilling to experience how the participants deal with this aspect”, says Linus Roth. With regard to autonomy of the artists, the second round of the competition will be of particular interest. Here the young violinists themselves will choose the pieces (“it is a mixture of compulsory and voluntary aspects”), and even self-composed pieces are allowed. In the final, the candidates will have to perform two concertos consecutively. “This is not entirely different from the reality a soloist will later face”, explains Roth, speaking from experience.

To achieve a holistic perspective on the participants, Linus Roth has brought apart from violinists several other experts to the jury: “The fact that we have cellists and a violist in the jury is a result of my fundamental principle that we intend not only to find perfect violinists but great musicians”. Two heavyweights from the classical music scene, Sabine Frank HarrisonParrott) und John Gilhooly (Wigmore Hall) are among the chosen jurors. In this way, a realistic assessment regarding concerts for a broad public is achieved and the often-neglected aspect of the recipient during completions comes into play. The same is true for the ‘Kritiker-Jury’, which will be granting its own prize. Besides Remy Franck (Pizzicato), Jens F. Laurson (IA-Forum) and Anna Picard (Times & Independent) are members of the critic’s jury.

In accordance with pedagogue Leopold Mozart, Linus Roth has offered the great violinist and intermediary of music Salvatore Accardo the title of honorary president. “As a student I attended numerous master classes led by him and later I performed chamber music with him. Three years ago I was able to attain him for a performance of a master class, which was a wonderful experience for all violinists present”.

The fact that Accardo accepted and will return in 2019 to Augsburg as honorary president should make all interested violinists sit up and take notice. As part of the 10th International Violin Competition, he will once again be offering an open master class.

Benjamin Schmid will chair the jury. He won First Prize in Augsburg in 1991, and that was a notable springboard for his career.

He will also open the competition with a festive concert accompanied by the Augsburg Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Domonkos Héja, who will also conduct the Munich Radio Orchestra in the final.

Registration for the 10th International Violin Competition Leopold Mozart Augsburg (31 May – 08 June 2019) must be completed online by 7 December 2018. Eligible are violinists from all countries from 15 years to 30 years of age.

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