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Previous Menuhin Competition prizewinners share their thoughts on their prizes

Our two First Prize winners from the Menuhin Competition London 2016, Ziyu He (Senior) and Yesong Sophie Lee (Junior), share their thoughts on winning their respective prizes:

Yesong Sophie Lee:

Not every 14-year-old girl has the opportunity to play a Guarneri Del Gesu. Ever since I was little, my dream was to be able to play one of these great violins. My dream came true, thanks to Florian Leonhard’s support of the Menuhin Competition London 2016’s Junior 1st Prize. I feel extremely honored to be able to play this amazing instrument. For me, this violin is a symbol of winning the Menuhin Competition and every time I open my violin case in the morning to practice, fond memories of the Competition come back to me. This violin has been played by many hands throughout the years, and it’s really special to me that I get to be a part of the violin’s notable history. I’m delighted to be this violin’s current caretaker, because after all, very few young violinists have this privilege. I feel extremely lucky to have been able to spend quality time with it.

Ziyu He:

For me, to play on the fantastic Schneiderhan Stradivari violin loaned to me a part of the Menuhin Competition London 2016 Senior 1st Prize was a great honor! During these two years I learned many things from the instrument, as with such a great instrument like this one the violin teaches the player how to control it! It was not easy at the beginning to get the best sound from the violin. I think, it’s like a relationship, you will take time to know and live with your partner and to control it.

So, it is the same case with the violin: I took half a year to work very hard on the sound to open the violin, which had not be played for many years, and the sound has completely changed during this time.

This beautiful masterpiece not only has a warm and a sweet sound, it really projects to the last row of the venue. I had no problem with the volume, the magnificent thing is that even if you play pp, the audience will still hear you, which many modern instrument can’t compare with. But the most impressive thing for me was the color, you will get each kind of sound which lets the audience enjoy your music.

Sometimes when I just took a look at it, I saw the pure beauty of the violin. How could we imagine that the great Stradivari made this incredible artistic work 300 years ago – an instrument which was originally for the baroque music yet, even today, the people are still fascinated by the stunning Strad sound.

It was a joy and a fantastic experience to play on the Schneiderhan Stradivari violin, and I would like to thank the Beare’s International Violin Society for their support of the Menuhin Competition London 2016 Senior 1st Prize and the loan of the violin to me for almost two years!

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