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Stephen Waarts Wins Menuhin Competition

March 4, 2014

Menuhin winners in Texas: Rennosuke Fukuda (junior), Stephen Waarts (senior).jpg Photos by Daniel Cavazos While others wasted time on the 2014 Academy Awards show Sunday night, young award winners and stars of the Menuhin Competition had a true gala in Austin, accompanied by the Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero. (On the same site, there are videos of competition performances, but not of the gala.)

The night before, Stephen Waarts, 17, from the Bay Area was named winner of the senior division of the competition at the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin. He placed second in the contest's junior division four years ago (letting other San Franciscans take top places two years ago, see below).

Now a student at the Curtis Institute of Music, Waarts studied at the S.F. Conservatory of Music for five years with Li Lin. The Conservatory — once serving the education of Menuhin himself — also was home to Stephen Kim, 18, who placed fourth in the senior division, and Alex Zhou, 12, fourth-place prize winner in the junior division and currently a student of Zhao Wei at the Conservatory. Alina Ming Kobialka, 16, another Conservatory alumna, competed in the senior division.

Every two years, the Menuhin Competition is organized in collaboration between the UK-based Yehudi Menuhin Young Violinists International Competition Trust and an international hosting partner. It is the only such event with a different venue each time. This year's competition marked the first time it was held in the U.S.

Winning juniors: Ludvig Gudim, Daniel Lozakovitj, Rennosuke Fukuda, Jaewon Wee, Alex Zhou Two years ago, in Beijing, the S.F. Conservatory's Li Lin had two students taking the top prizes: Kenneth Renshaw in the senior division, and Kevin Zhu, then 11, the youngest performer ever to win a Menuhin competition, took the junior division.

In Austin, senior winners, after Waarts are In Mo Yang, 18, from Korea, and Christine Seohyun Lim, 19, American-Korean.

In the junior division: Rennosuke Fukuda, 14, of Japan, placed first; followed by Daniel Lozakovitj, 12, of Sweden; Ludvig Gudim, 15, of Norway; Alex Zhou, 12, of San Francisco; and Jaewon Wee, 14, of Korea.

Janos Gereben appreciates news tips, corrections, and words of encouragement at [email protected].