Young violinist Weng Qingzhu has entered the finals of the 16th International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition in Poznań, Poland, a very high achievement attained by a Chinese mainland musician in the 87-year-old prestigious competition.
Weng and other five finalists, Hana Chang (Japan/Singapore/the United States), Jane (Hyeonjin) Cho (South Korea), Meruert Karmenova (Kazakhstan), Dayoon You (South Korea) and Hina Maeda (Japan), will compete in the finals this week. Audience members can watch the live finals on Music Today’s WeChat Channels that will air three shows at 12 a.m. Oct. 19-21 (Beijing Time).
In an earlier interview with Music Today, Weng said he likes Henryk Wieniawski’s “Légende” the most because it vividly portrays landscapes with emotions.
The piece’s simple construction with clear, unequivocal yet varied harmony, the lyrical and rather sentimental and melancholic melody, and the wealth of tones elicited from the violin make it one of the violin pieces that virtuosos today most willingly perform.
Weng also said the “Faust Fantasy” by Wieniawski would be the hardest for him to play right now because he has not yet understood much about the piece.
Weng, 21, from Xiamen, Fujian Province, is studying at the Hochschule for Music, Theater and Media, Hannover in Germany. He has studied at the affiliated primary and middle schools of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. He is playing on a Giuseppe Gagliano violin (1785).
He has been awarded numerous prizes, including first prize at the Ysaye International Music Competition in Belgium (2018), first prize at the Mirecourt International Violin Competition in France and second prize at the International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition in Germany (2022). He has been a soloist with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, NDR Radiophilharmonie, Pforzheim Chamber Orchestra, Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie Konstanz, Kammerphilharmonie Frankfurt and Kremerata Baltica Orchestra.
In addition to Weng, three other Chinese contestants also gave brilliant performances at this year’s Wieniawski competition. Zhang Zhixin, 22, a graduate of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, is currently a student at the Kalaidos Music Academy in Zurich.
Hou Yiyang, 18, who has studied at the affiliated middle school of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, has been admitted in the fall of 2022 to the Curtis Institute of Music in the United States.
Wang Shihan, 17, who studied at the affiliated primary school and middle school of the Central Conservatory of Music, is currently enrolled at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music in Berlin.
Wieniawski (1835-1880), a Polish virtuoso violinist, composer and pedagogue, is regarded as among the greatest violinists of all time.
He occupies a special place in the history of world violin music and was, above all, considered by contemporary critics and music lovers as in essence a reincarnation of Niccolò Paganini.
His works have withstood the test of time, taking a prominent place in world violin literature and in the repertories of most eminent artists.
The International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition takes place every five years in Poland, in honor of Wieniawski. The first competition took place in 1935 in Warsaw, 100 years after the birth of its patron. The second, after a gap of 17 years in 1952, and subsequent events were held in Poznań.
Among the winners in the competition’s 87-year-old history, Soviet violinists David Oistrakh (1908-1974) and his son Igor Oistrakh (1931-2021) were the most famous, snatching second prize in 1935 and first prize in 1952, respectively.
The competition, arranged by the Henryk Wieniawski Musical Society in Poznań, is a founding member of the World Federation of International Music Competitions (WFIMC) in Geneva. The federation was founded by 13 international music competitions in 1957.
Today the WFIMC has over 120 members — music competitions that meet the highest artistic and organizational standards. The members of the federation play an important role in discovering and promoting the most promising young talents in classical music and furthering their careers by presenting them before distinguished jurors, audiences and the media.