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Finalists Announced For New York's 2021 Barbash Solo Bach String Competition

The Final Round will be held at Stony Brook University, on Long Island, New York on December 1 - and will be streamed LIVE here on The Violin Channel


Open to international string players 16 to 30 years of age, the Lillian and Maurice Barbash J.S. Bach String Competition is focused entirely on the unaccompanied string Partitas, Sonatas, and Suites of J.S. Bach.

"This competition is unusual in that the participants are only required to play one sonata, suite, or partita of Bach, 2021 jury member, cellist Colin Carr told The Violin Channel. "It’s such a simple format: two movements for the first round, and the whole piece for the final. But isn’t that telling enough?"

"The competitors may play on modern or baroque instruments and bows, on instruments with four, five, or six strings, tuned in fifths, fourths, or a combination. As competitions go, this is perhaps the most humane I have come across!" he said.


The 2021 finalists are:

  • Cellist Geirþrúður Anna Guðmundsdóttir

  • Cellist Andrew Levin

  • Violinist Lun Li

  • Violinist Tianyou Ma

  • Violinist Jaewon Wee




The 2021 first prize winner will receive $5000, plus a number of performance invitations.

This year's jury will comprise Robert Mealy, Marilyn McDonald, Arthur Haas, Eugene Drucker, and Colin Carr.

Previous first prize winners include violinist Rachell Ellen Wong and cellist Maxime Quennesson.

“If you enjoy playing Bach’s music, then I think you should apply!” inaugural 2019 1st prize winner, baroque violinist Rachell Ellen Wong previously told The Violin Channel.

“I love that the jury consists of great ‘modern’ players and also great ‘historically informed’ players — you don’t often see that,” she said.

"Knowing that I have bridged that gap between these two sides, and coming from both a modern and historical performance background, is a great feeling — it has given me the confidence to know that I am on the right path."


The Violin Channel also recently sat down with the competition's co-founder Susan Barbash, to discuss the annual event she founded with her siblings in 2019, in honor of their late parents Lillian and Maurice Barbash.

"Though they were not musicians themselves, our parents were passionate music lovers," Susan told The Violin Channel. "Our mother was one of Long Island’s pre-eminent arts presenters and our parents also served together on several orchestra boards and financed numerous music residencies and concert outings for students in our hometown."

"This competition is our way of thanking them for all they did for us and their community  — and it is our way of honoring their memory and of continuing their advocacy for the arts," she said.


The Final Round of this year’s competition will stream LIVE here on The Violin Channel at 1:00PM (ET) on Wednesday, December 1 and will feature the five 2021 finalists: violinists Lun Li, cellist Andrew Laven, violinist Jaew


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