Student - April 28, 2011

There were no losers on that stage

Last Saturday, thanks to my blog's editor (thx so much Nicolette ^_^), I watched the second round of 23rd national violin competition at Concertgebouw, Amsterdam. 10 talented violinists in the range of 17 to 26 got together and vied for four berths on the final stage. Needless to say, it was a feast for the eyes.

One of the finalists - Lisanne Soeterbroek
One of the finalists - Lisanne Soeterbroek

photo: .

I arrived there late so I missed first five contestants, including Emmy Storms, the third prize winner in 2009. But I still had a half full cup to enjoy, and that's enough.
The second half started with a male player Pieter, the youngest participant this year, and his piano accompanist Mengjie Han. A Chinese pianist?! Sorry for my patriotism but it was so proud to see 'Made in China' at such a prestigious music hall.

All the players were required to play three works, one compulsory and two optional. There are one thousand Beethovens in one thousand people's eyes, so even in the mandatory part different violinists had various interpretations. As a layman, the only thing I could do was to keep murmuring a word - 'wow'.

Besides the fantastic performances, the title of the competition caught my attention as well, which is named after Oscar Back. Who is he? Entering his name on Google, ignoring the results about the academy awards, you can find the first two results are about him. Unfortunately, they are written in Dutch. With help of Google translate, I scraped through it. To sum up his life, it's a story about how a Hungarian Dutch who suffered lifelong stage fright became a great teacher behind the curtain. In 1954, a scholarship foundation named after him was established to offer financial support to the unmediated and gifted violinists. That's also the motive of this music competition.

I understand Mr. Back's predicament since I once participated in some singing contests. Maybe that character flaw left him a regret of life, but he's not a loser of life; he's the tutor of many music virtuosos, he's great. Everyone has his stage. It may be not in City A but in B, it might in the lab, on the football field or just at home. Wherever, there must be a place you can find out the meaning of your life. This is the story I learned from this unsung musician.

At last, four ladies won a place in the finale. No man at all? That's a shame but there were no losers on that stage because they had shown their best to the audience. The best is yet to come, the final is tonight. Good luck, every young talent!


Video of the week:
An inspiring story of Jamie Pugh.

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