By Nicolas Grizzle
After two years of postponement due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition announced that in lieu of a $100,000 grand prize for the winner, the six finalists will each be awarded $20,000 and a certificate for entering the final round. There will also be a joint concert featuring the six finalists broadcast on the competition’s Facebook and Youtube pages August 26–28.
“The continuing difficulties connected to the pandemic have obligated us to invent an entirely new outcome,” said David Stern, co-chair of the jury committee. “I am very proud of the imaginative solution that the SISIVC has put in place in order to bring the 2020 competition to a just conclusion.”
The preliminary round was originally scheduled to be completed online at the beginning of 2020, with the quarter-final, semi-final and final rounds taking place in Shanghai in August 2020. After pandemic-related delays, a year later, in August 2021, six candidates entered the final round after eight days of intense competition online. The finalists are Rino Yoshimoto (Japan), Thomas Lefort (France), Ruifeng Lin (China), Felicitas Schiffner (Germany), Angela Sin Ying Chan (Hong Kong, China), and Shannon Lee (United States).
For the joint concert, each finalist will record a performance of the repertoire of the final round, including two concerto performances: one concerto of their choice, plus “Night Tour” by Zhou Tian, which was commissioned by the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra (SSO). The jury committee will not give scores for each performance, but they will provide detailed reactions of each candidate’s performance, acting as mentors rather than competition jury members. Each candidate will receive support from the competition to pay for a professional quality competition recording.
“This is a complex decision from the Organization Committee, which won the unanimous understanding and support from the jury and candidates,” the competition’s organization committee stated in a press release. “What we can confirm is that the high standard of the competition and our support for the candidates will not be compromised because of the present health crisis.”