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The Third Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition Opens Online


The competition received 102 applications from 31 countries and regions around the world.

The Third Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition Opens Online

After a one-year postponement, the Opening and Drawing Ceremony of the third Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition was held online on August 12. The competition received 102 applications from 31 countries and regions around the world, and 25 contestants are participating in the Quarter-Final Round. The competition starts online and then will transition to be in-person for the Final Round. The online Quarter-Finals are being held August 13-16, and the list of advancements will be announced on August 17. Then, the online Semi-Finals will be held August 18-21 with the finalists announced on August 22. In the end, the six selected finalists will come to Shanghai next year in accordance with the national pandemic prevention and control guidelines and perform the Final Round with a quartet and symphony orchestra.

The Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition was inaugurated in 2016 as the first Chinese music competition in the world initiated by a professional symphony orchestra. The Competition has attracted worldwide attention for its professional, authoritative jurors, fair selection, standardized schedule, outstanding contestants, and distinctive features. Although the competition was postponed due to the pandemic, the current edition maintains its original name - 2020 Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition - since 2020 marked the 100th anniversary of Isaac Stern's birth.

The 25 SISIVC quarterfinalists come from 13 countries and regions, and more than half of them study at, or graduated from, top music schools including The Juilliard School, Curtis Institute of Music, Royal Conservatory of Music, Oxford University, Cleveland Institute of Music, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, and Central Conservatory of Music. Many contestants have also participated in top international music competitions such as the Wieniawski International Violin Competition, Long-Thibaud-Crespin Competition, Sendai International Music Competition, International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, and International Fritz Kreisler Violin Competition.

Although the Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals have been moved online for this edition, the overall difficulty and standard remain the same as in previous editions. For example, the Mozart Concerto performed in the Semi-Finals still requires the contestants to write their own cadenzas. Contestants select their own piano accompanists and record their video performances in their respective countries. Fees are subsidized by the competition. After the videos are submitted to the Organisation Committee, the jurors score them online together at the same time.

For the Final Round, in addition to the string quartet piece, contestants also perform a newly-commissioned Chinese work - Violin Concerto "Night Tour" by Chinese composer Zhou Tian - and a violin concerto of choice with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, which fully demonstrates the contestants' artistic level, musical personality, and irreplaceable in-person appeal.

The third Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition has an authoritative lineup of jury members, who are leaders in various fields of the classical music industry including well-known soloists and members of distinguished chamber music groups, as well as performance industry leaders, educators, and more. Co-chaired by well-known conductor David Stern and violinist and pedagogue Professor Vera Tsu Weiling, the Jury Committee also includes legendary artist manager Martin Campbell-White; Concertmaster of Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Pei Li; violinist and founding member of the Shanghai Quartet Weigang Li; renowned violinist Ning Feng; violinist, pedagogue, and founding member of the Emerson String Quartet Philip Setzer; violinists and pedagogues Hagai Shaham, Joel Smirnoff, Kyoko Takezawa; and celebrated cellist Jian Wang. In addition, Director of Programs at the Philharmonie de Paris Emmanuel Hondré; one of the greatest living string players in the world and Grammy Award-winner Maxim Vengerov; and violinist and pedagogue Glenn Dicterow also participate in the judging of the finals.

Beginning August 13, the online Quarter-Finals will be broadcast live worldwide through many channels. The live broadcast channels include the official WeChat video account of the competition "Stern International Violin Competition," the official website of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra (, and the classical music channel "" The Competition's official YouTube channel and Facebook page will also broadcast the events. The Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals live broadcast totals more than 50 hours.

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