Previous Commissions for the Menuhin Competition

For many years, the Menuhin Competition has commissioned host country composers to create new works for competitors. Commissioning new works is an important tradition of the Competition which gives competitors an insight into local culture and supports composers around the world. Traditionally, Composer Award has been awarded to the Junior and Senior competitors who give the best performance of the new commissions. To celebrate some of our most recent commissions, we have listed these works alongside videos where available of the performances given by the winners of the Composer Award.

For the Cardiff 2008 Competition, Welsh composer Pwyll ap Siôn was jointly commissioned by the Menuhin Competition Trust and the Arts Council of Wales. He created The White Wheat, a theme and variations inspired by the traditional Welsh folk song Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn (translated: Watching the White Wheat).

In 2010, the Menuhin Competition elected to add a new musical element for the Oslo 2010 Competition. Rather than commissioning a new work, Partita für Paul by Arne Nordheim was added to the repertoire list to explore the interaction between analogue and electrical music.

Beijing 2012

Li Shangqian – Entranced with Mountain Scenery

The Junior Composer Award was won by Kevin Zhu.

Tian Jinglun – Three and a Half Phrases

The Senior Composer Award was won by Victor Zeyu Li.

Austin 2014

At the Austin 2014 Competition, Dan Welcher (The Cowboy and the Rattlesnake) and Donald Grantham (Black-eyed Suzy) composed pieces of music influenced by local history and tradition. The Cowboy and the Rattlesnake references cowboy music, beginning simply but ending with virtuosic flare. Donald Grantham was inspired by Appalachian and Southern music, and sought to incorporate both virtuoso technique and the techniques and stylistic features of country fiddling.

Dan Welcher – The Cowboy and the Rattlesnake

The Junior Composer Award was won by Alex Zhou.

Donald Grantham – Black-eyed Suzy

The Senior Composer Award was won by Stephen Waarts.

London 2016

In celebration of the Menuhin centenary in 2016, the Menuhin Competition commissioned John Rutter to compose a piece for violin, string orchestra and boys choir, which was premiered by the Sainsbury Royal Academy Soloists, The Boys of the Temple Church Choir and Kerson Leong, conducted by Roger Sayer, at the Temple Church Concert on Thursday 14th April, 2006. A video of this performance can be seen online here.

The 2016 Junior commission, Shpigl (“mirror” in Yiddish), was created by Òscar Colomina I Bosch and was inspired by Menuhin’s philosophy on life as a journey of transformation. It references works which were significant to Yehudi Menuhin’s own life journey, including Elgar’s Violin Concerto, Bartók’s Sonata for Solo Violin and Enescu’s Sonata No. 3. The Senior commission, Hora Bessarabia, was created by Roxana Panufnik, and was inspired by gypsy music. It uses the Romanian Doina and Hora forms, along with additional Hungarian rhythms to create a virtuosic and ornamented piece.

Òscar Colomina I Bosch – Shpigl

The Junior Composer Award was won by Yesong Sophie Lee.

Roxanna Panufnik – Hora Bessarabia for solo violin

The Senior Composer Award was won by Ziyu He.

Geneva 2018

The Geneva 2018 Competition commissions were created by Yair Klartag (Half Tiger, Half Poet) and Jaehyuck Choi (Self in Mind). Yair has said about his work: ‘Yehudi Menuhin once said “the violinist is that peculiarly human phenomenon distilled to a rare potency – half tiger, half poet” … and it was this acclamation that was my initial inspiration for this work.’ Self in Mind was inspired by a simple question – what does it sound like when one is thinking? The composer explored the relationship between the mind and the self through the music, reflecting on the sound of thought in this work.

Jaehyuck Choi – Self in Mind

The Junior Composer Award was won by Christian Li.

Yair Klartag – Half Tiger, Half Poet

The Senior Composer Award was won by Nathan Mierdl.