Watch then 13-year-old Australian violinist Edward Walton's first prize winning performance in the final round of the 2019 “Il Piccolo Violino Magico” International Competition for Young Violinists in San Vito al Tagliamento, Italy.
"The most vivid memory I have from the 2019 competition in Italy is playing the first movement of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in the finals, with the FVG Orchestra," Edward told us. "It was such a surreal experience. I couldn’t believe how fortunate I was to have the opportunity of working with such a wonderful orchestra, in a beautiful concert hall with such a warm audience.
When they announced him as the first prize winner, Edward recounts that he was "so elated from the whole experience of playing with the orchestra."
"I don’t think I really took in what was happening! I was extremely surprised to place given the high standard of the other competitors but overwhelmed with gratitude."
For this year's candidates, he suggests knowing the orchestra score really well so you're ready for anything. If he could have been told anything in advance about this particular competition, he wished he knew how challenging it is playing with an orchestra with very little rehearsal time.
"It's very different than playing with piano," he said. "Thankfully I was aware of this, but it’s easy to overlook when preparing."
Since winning the competition in 2019, Edward has had masterclasses at Keshet Eilon, which included one with Maxim Vengerov — and performed at a festival with his string quartet in Australia. A student of Dr Robin Wilson, in Melbourne, Australia, Edward was recently awarded second place in the 2021 Menuhin Competition Junior Division and will make his solo debut with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in August 2021. Edward plays on a Gennaro Gagliano violin kindly loaned to him by a generous sponsor through the Beare’s International Violin Society.
"Il Piccolo was a wonderful experience that opened up some further performance opportunities for me," he recollects. "It is so rare to have the chance at a young age to perform all three rounds of a competition with an orchestra. I think that this gave me an insight into the life of a professional musician, and I really can’t thank the Il Piccolo Violino Magico competition enough!"