The Violin Channel recently caught up with 2019 Louis Spohr Violin Competition for Young Violinists Senior Category 1st prize winner, 18-year-old American violinist Phoenix Avalon.
A current student of Itzhak Perlman and Li Lin at The Juilliard School, Phoenix is a former top prize winner at the Johansen and Fischoff International String Competitions.
Phoenix. Congratulations. How does it feel to be a 1st prize winner at the International Louis Spohr Competition?
"It feels absolutely incredible to have won the first prize at the Spohr International Violin Competition! .... I was completely shocked and honored when they announced the results and I’m so grateful for this experience"
What will be your best long-lasting memory from your time at the competition?
"The rehearsals and performances with the orchestra in the final round and the winners concert was definitely the most fulfilling and memorable part of the competition ... Maestro Pasquet is absolutely incredible and inspiring to work with"
What are the most important lessons you learned from your preparation for this competition?
"I think the most important lesson I learned preparing for this competition is to be patient with yourself.
There were lots of times two months out of the competition where I thought I was completely unprepared and there was no chance I would be ready but it helped to slow down, take one thing at a time and trust the work that you put in will show"
What tips and advice do you have for keeping one’s focus on the music even under stressful situations such as a competition?
"I think the best way to handle the stress and stay focused on the music during a competition is to focus on the musical and emotional aspects of each piece.
By the time you’re actually at the competition you shouldn’t be worrying about the small technical details ... you should focused on trying to convey your interpretation of the piece as convincingly as possible.
Besides that, sleeping and eating are the best things you can do for your body during a stressful competition"
Who have been your most influential mentors and inspirations?
"My teachers Itzhak Perlman and Li Lin have definitely been my most inspiring mentors ... their dedication to music and students is absolutely amazing and I am so grateful for their guidance"
What important piece of advice have you learned from your mentors that you’d like to pass on?
"I think the most important advice my teachers I’ve given to me preparing for this competition is that once you’ve put in the work and are ready to perform don’t be afraid to take risks and truly represent yourself on stage"
Away from your instrument, what do you like to do to keep your sanity?
"Outside of the practice room I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, reading, and of course watching Netflix"
What does your future hold now? What are your career goals?
"For now I am going to keep working as hard as a can and try to perform as much as possible.
I think ideally I would love to have a career consisting mostly of solo and chamber music.
As long as I spend my time performing great music with great musicians I will be happy"