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Markus Klein on the Second Edition of The Stuttgart International Violin Competition

Organized by the Guadagnini Foundation, the competition will take place in Stuttgart, Germany between February 19-26, 2024


Organized by the Guadagnini Foundation and the Stuttgart University of Music and Performing Arts, the Stuttgart International Violin Competition is open to international violinists 28 years of age and younger. The candidates for the upcoming competition have recently been announced.

The Violin Channel discussed the upcoming competition with Markus Klein, President of the Guadagnini Foundation and the competition's organizer.


Can you tell us about the Stuttgart International Violin Competition?

The Guadagnini Foundation, based in Stuttgart, was founded in 2018 and has a guiding principle of supporting artists. To that end, our competition aims to provide outstanding support and a large platform to young, highly talented string players. Since its first iteration in 2021, we continue to establish and perpetuate the Stuttgart International Violin Competition as one of the world's outstanding and important competitions.


The second edition of the competition will take place between February 19 - 26. What are you most looking forward to?

As we artistically develop, I'm looking forward to the higher standards of the required competition repertoire. In addition, I'm excited for the commissioned composition “Feu d'artifice” by David Philip Hefti and hearing the finalists play a Beethoven Quartet with the renowned Lotus Quartet in the first part of the final. All of these aspects underline our idea of ultimately founding and promoting artistic exigence.


Can you tell us about the different prizes and performance opportunities this year’s laureates will receive?

The competition's funding is at the highest international level with 60,000 Euros in prize money. The LIONS Club Altes Schloss Stuttgart will donate an additional €3,000 for the best interpretation of the commissioned composition. The first prize winner will receive an incentive that goes far beyond the prize money: the loan of a violin by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini from 1746. On top of that, we offer the opportunity to program solo concerts, which is an additional enrichment for the top talents.


Which ensembles and conductors will the candidates perform with during the competition?

We have a strong partnership with the Stuttgart Philharmonic. In the final round and the prizewinners' concert, the violinists will perform with this wonderful ensemble under the direction of Ariel Zuckermann. In addition, as already mentioned, there will be a collaboration with the Lotus Quartet. The young violinists will perform the first violin part of the Beethoven Quartets Op.18 with them.


Who are your jury members for this year and on what criteria did you select them?

We are delighted to welcome nine international experts to the competition jury this year. With chairman Prof. Ingolf Turban, who took on the same role in the first competition, we are setting an example of continued quality. In addition to him, we are welcoming Professors Shmuel Askhenasi, Dr. Harald Eggebrecht, Stefan Fehlandt, Suyoen Kim, Rudolf Koelman, Josef Rissin, Hagai Shaham and Ulf Wallin.

With this jury, we are solidifying the already established spirit of the competition, through a jury that is always focused on the candidates. We want to guarantee that all participants can take away something from the competition for their own artistic development, even if they do not make it to the second round or the final.


What are you hoping each of the competitors will gain from participating in the Stuttgart International Violin Competition?

We hope that our support will open doors for top artistic talents and their future paths. Our goal is not just to reward perfection, but rather to discover and promote interesting artistic personalities and accompany them on their journey. This not only happens with receiving prizes. The preparation and participation in such a competition, meeting with the other candidates, and receiving feedback from the highly qualified jury — all promote a violinist's development.


What advice would you give to the competitors ahead of this competition?

Looking at the 24 who were selected from the strong international pool of 229 applicants, the level of our competition will be at the absolute top level. Nuances in artistic and technical playing combined with a truly profound and authentic interpretation of the works will be the criteria on which the candidates will be differentiated. In this respect, the best advice is to be prepared as best as possible.


How can people watch this year’s competition?

We are very pleased about the cooperation with The Violin Channel. The entire competition will be streamed live on their website.

We will also put all recordings online so the competition can be experienced at any time via YouTube through the Guadagnini Foundation.

Those in Stuttgart at the time of the competition can experience all rounds of the competition live with free entry. Tickets for the competition as well as the award winners' concert are available through SKS Russ, the largest classical music organizer in Baden-Württemberg.


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