Chairman of the jury
Marcel Cuvelier
Belgium, °1899 - 1959
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Oskar Back
Hungary (Republic), The Netherlands, °1879 - 1963
Oskar Back (1879-1963) was a Dutch violinist and teacher of Hungarian origin. He studied at the conservatories in Vienna and Brussels (with Eugène Ysaÿe and César Thomson), and taught at the Brussels Conservatory from 1910 to 1918. In 1919 he settled in The Netherlands and was one of the distinguished violinists who supplemented the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra under Mengelberg for the historic Mahler Festival of 1920.

Oskar Back devoted himself chiefly to teaching, first with private lessons and later at the Amsterdam Muzieklyceum and the Rotterdam Conservatory. He taught most of the leading Dutch violinists and orchestral leaders, among whom are Herman Krebbers, Theo Olof, Willem Noske, Jo Juda, Emmy Verhey and Jean Louis Stuurop; he also taught a number of foreign students, including Alma Moodie. The Oskar Back Foundation was set up after his death to provide assistance for talented young Dutch violinists; it organizes a national violinists' competition, held every other year.
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Mario Corti
Italy, °1882 - 1957
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Arthur Grumiaux
Belgium, °1921 - 1986
Of the Franco-Belgian school, Arthur Grumiaux is considered to have been one of the few truly great violin virtuosi of the twentieth century. In his relatively short life his achievements were superb. He brought to performances guaranteed technical command, faithfulness to the composer's intent, and sensitivity toward the intricate delineations of musical structure. His fame was built upon extraordinary violin concerto performances and chamber-music appearances with his own Grumiaux Trio.

Arthur Grumiaux was born in Villers-Perwin, Belgium, in 1921, to a working-class family, and it was his grandfather who urged him to begin music studies at the age of 4. He trained on violin and piano with the Fernand Quintet at the Charleroi Conservatory, where he took first prize at the age of 11. The following year he advanced his studies by working with Alfred Dubois at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels, and also worked on counterpoint and fugue with Jean Absil. He received his first few major awards prior to reaching the age of 20; he took the Henry Vieuxtemps and François Prume prizes in 1939, and received the Prix de Virtuosité from the Belgian government in 1940. During this time he also studied composition privately in Paris with Georges Enesco, Menuhin's teacher. His debuts were made in Belgium with the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra playing Mendelssohn's concerto, and in Britain with the BBC Symphonic Orchestra in 1945.

Due to the German invasion of his homeland, there existed a short time gap between these two important events. During that time he played privately with several small ensembles, while refraining from public performance of any kind. Regardless of this slight delay in the initiation of his international career, once started, it quickly developed. Following his British debut, he advanced into Belgium academia when he was appointed professor of violin at the Royal Conservatory, where he had once studied. There, he emphasized the importance of phrasing, the quality of sound, and the high technical standards of artistry.

Arthur Grumiaux's playing has been included on over 30 recordings, nearly all under Philips, although his name is also seen on the labels of EMI, Belart and Music & Arts. The titles on these releases tend to be the compositions of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, and Schubert, and on occasion include works by Ravel and Debussy. One of his greatest joys in life was his partnership with the pianist Clara Haskil. On occasion, the two would switch instruments for a different perspective and relationship. Grumiaux was left with a professional and personal absence when she died from a fall at a train station, en route to a concert with him.

In addition to his solo work, he has recorded Mozart quintets with the Grumiaux Ensemble, and various selections with the Grumiaux Trio, comprised of the Hungarian husband-wife duo Georges Janzer (violin) and Eva Czako (cello). His successful performance career led up to royal recognition, as in 1973, he was knighted baron by King Baudouin, for his services to music, thus, sharing the title with Paganini. Despite a struggle with diabetes, he continued a rigorous schedule of recording and concert performances, primarily in Western Europe, until a sudden stroke in Brussels took his life in 1986. At the age of 65, Arthur Grumiaux left behind the memory of his elegant and solid musicianship.
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Frederick Jacobi
°1891 - 1952
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Philip Newman
Great Britain, °1904 - 1966
Philip Newman (1904-1966) was born in Manchester, the son of Harris Newman, cantor of Manchester's Great Synagogue. Cantor Newman, from Lodz in Poland, was considered one of the finest cantors of his day, gifted as both singer and musician. Philip's sister, Pearl, and brother Montague were also talented musicians. Philip became a pupil of Adolph Brodsky at the Royal Manchester College of Music, entering the College in 1917 aged 13 and leaving in 1920 without taking a diploma.

In 1924 Brodsky advised him to attend the Brussels Conservatoire to study with Albert Zimmel, Ysaÿe's first assistant. After just one year, he won the 'Premier Prix de Violon' with maximum marks and distinction, playing the very difficult Violin Concerto in F sharp minor Op. 23 by H. W. Ernst. During his time in Brussels he also studied with the violinists Henri van Hecke and Cesar Thomson. At this time he became the friend of Antoine, the son of Eugene Ysaÿe, who asked him to perform Ysaÿe's 4th Solo Sonata for his father but Newman refused saying that he did not think himself ready to play for the man who from an early age he had considered to be the supreme violinist. Six years later Antoine was to become Newman's manager.

Philip Newman spent the years 1928 to 1932 in Berlin studying with Willy Hess who was by then Germany's foremost violinist, and had been a pupil of the great Joseph Joachim. Here he learned a style different to that of the Belgian school of which he was by now a fine exponent. In Berlin he was exposed to the height of musical culture, and Newman planned that after studying with Hess he would move on to study in other conservatoires with Henri Marteau and then finally to Ottokar Sevcik, but these plans were not be fulfilled.

In 1931 Philip Newman went to Ysaÿe's house as Ysaÿe was dying. Climbing the stairs he took out his violin and performed the master's 4th Solo Violin Sonata dedicated to Fritz Kreisler, the very work he was so reluctant to play previously. The last notes that Ysaÿe heard were those played by Philip Newman. The last words that Ysaÿe spoke, were to Philip Newman, 'Splendid... but the finale... a little too fast...' At Ysaÿe's funeral Newman took the strings which he had previously taken from his violin and tied them around a wreath which he placed on Ysaÿe's grave.

Philip Newman's first major recital took place in his hometown of Manchester in the mid 1920's, for which his father had hired the Free Trade Hall. However his first big concert was in Ostend where he performed the Beethoven Violin Concerto. For some unaccountable reason his official British debut with orchestra did not take place until 1935, again in the Manchester Free Trade Hall.

In 1951 Philip Newman began his long service as a judge of the Queen Elisabeth Competition which had replaced the Ysaÿe Violin Competition. For many years he was also a member of the panel of judges at the Tchaikovsky Violin Competition in Moscow where he represented the British Council. In 1937 Philip Newman had been introduced to Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, becoming her personal professor of the violin. The Queen had for many years devoted much of her time to the violin and had performed privately with many distinguished musicians, she herself was a great patron of the arts and an accomplished violinist. In 1964, the Queen was involved with such outstanding musicians as Casals, Stravinsky, Schweitzer and Newman in the founding of the Symphonicum Europaea. The Queen attended most of Newman's concerts, and presented him with a gold mounted bow by Francois Tourte, one of the world's finest bow makers. The long association with Queen Elisabeth ended with her death in 1965.

In 1942 Philip Newman took refuge in Portugal and finally arrived in Lisbon where he became the first non-national Professor of the violin at the National Academy of Music. During his long stay in that city he organised and promoted concerts for charity including many for the International Red Cross. In that same year he acquired a fine Guarnerius del Gesu dated 1741 which had been purchased for his use by his cousin Isaac Wolfson. Many years before that Ysaÿe had contemplated buying the same violin. The violin was the favourite instrument of the virtuoso Henri Vieuxtemps (at Vieuxtemps' funeral it was carried behind his coffin on a velvet cushion and is now known as the ex-Vieuxtemps), and is considered one of the finest violins in existence by both experts and players alike.

During the remainder of the war years, Philip Newman devoted even more time to giving concerts for refugees, later extended to concerts for under-privileged people in Africa. In 1950 he left Portugal to tour England, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Germany, receiving excellent reviews from both critics and fellow musicians. On 22 and 23 November he appeared again in Manchester's Free Trade Hall playing the Beethoven Concerto Violin Concerto with the Halle Orchestra conducted by John Barbirolli. In 1954 he agreed to undertake 28 concerts in the Belgian Congo and Angola, but just before finalising the details, he received news that his father had died; nonetheless he continued the tour as planned. He met Albert Schweitzer in Lambarene, and towards the end of the tour visited Johannesburg where it is known that he recorded works by Paganini and the Beethoven Violin Concerto for the South African Broadcasting Company.

On his return to Europe, Philip Newman joined his old friend Casals to play at the opening of the Prades Festival. The Festival of Pollensa, which Newman founded in 1962, became the major activity of his remaining years. A galaxy of artists appeared with him during the September Festival events. One year's programme had Ruggiero Ricci, Pierre Fournier and Friedrich Guida. Newman's last concert took place on 4th September 1966 at the Festival and the last piece of music he ever played was at the request of a journalist the same evening. It was the Recitative and Scherzo Caprice by Kreisler. A tour of the Soviet Union was planned but Philip Newman died of a heart attack in his hotel room in Majorca on 23 November 1966, one year to the day after his beloved friend Queen Elisabeth. Ironically, he was that very evening to have taken part in a television broadcast to mark the anniversary of her death.

Throughout his career Philip Newman received many honours and awards. In Belgium, he was an Officer of the Order of the Crown. Portugal awarded him its highest honour, Knight Commander of St. James of the Sword, and for his work during the war years the Order of St. John together with the Order of Christ. He was also awarded the Ysaÿe and the Queen Elisabeth of Belgium medals and later decorated with the Order of Merit and the Order of Leopold. Yet another distinction was a commissioned oil painting which now hangs in the National Gallery, Lisbon.
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David Oistrakh
Russian Federation, °1908 - 1974
David Oistrakh (1908-1974) is considered the premiere violinist of the mid-twentieth century Soviet Union. His recorded legacy includes nearly the entire standard violin repertory up to and including Prokofiev and Bartók. His violin studies began in 1913 with Pyotr Stolyarsky. Later he officially joined Stolyarsky's class at the Odessa Conservatory, graduating in 1926 by playing Prokofiev's First Violin Concerto. Performances of the Glazunov Concerto in Odessa and Kiev in 1927, and a 1928 debut in Leningrad (Tchaikovsky Concerto) gave him the confidence to move to Moscow. He made his premiere there in early 1929, but the event went largely unnoticed. In 1934, however, after several years of patiently refining his craft, he was invited to join the Moscow Conservatory, eventually rising to the rank of full professor in 1939.

Meanwhile, David Oistrakh was gaining success on the competition circuit, winning the All-Ukrainian contest in 1930, and the All-Soviet competition three years later. In 1935 he took second prize at the Wieniawski competition. In 1937 the Soviet government sent the now veteran violinist to Brussels to compete in the International Ysaÿe Competition, where he took home first prize.

With his victory in Brussels, Soviet composers began to take notice of their young compatriot, enabling him to work closely with Miaskovsky and Khachaturian on their concertos in 1939 and 1940, respectively. In addition, his close friendship with Shostakovich led the composer to write two concertos for the instrument (the first of which Oistrakh played at his, and its, triumphant American premiere in 1955). During the 1940s David Oistrakh's active performing schedule took him across the Soviet Union but his international career had to wait until the 1950s, when the political climate had cooled enough for Soviet artists to be welcomed in the capitals of the West.

The remaining decades of his life were devoted to maintaining the highest possible standards of excellence throughout an exhausting touring schedule (he returned to the U.S. six times in the 1960s), and he began a small but successful sideline career as an orchestral conductor. His death came suddenly in Amsterdam in 1974, during a cycle of Brahms concerts in which he both played and conducted.

Throughout his career David Oistrakh was known for his honest, warm personality; he developed close friendships with many of the leading musicians of the day. His violin technique was virtually flawless, though he never allowed purely physical matters to dominate his musical performances. He always demanded of himself (and his students) that musical proficiency, intelligence, and emotion be in balance, regardless of the particular style. David Oistrakh felt that a violinist's essence was communicated through clever and subtle use of the bow, and not through overly expressive use of vibrato. To this end he developed a remarkably relaxed, flexible right arm technique, capable of producing the most delicate expressive nuances, but equally capable of generating great volume and projection.

As a teacher, David Oistrakh maintained that a teacher should do no more than necessary to help guide the student towards his or her own solutions to technical and interpretive difficulties. He rarely played during lessons, fearing that he might distract the student from developing a more individual approach, and even encouraged his students to challenge his interpretations. Perhaps the best evidence of the Oistrakh's gift for teaching is that he felt that he gained as much from the teaching experience as his students did.
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Alfred Pochon
Switzerland, °1878 - 1959
Alfred Pochon (1878-1959) débute l'apprentissage du violon à l'âge de sept ans dans sa ville natale Yverdon en Suisse avant de suivre les enseignements de Louis Rey à Genève. À quatorze ans il se décide définitivement pour une carrière musicale. Il part alors pour la Belgique en 1895 et s'inscrit au Conservatoire de Liège, c'est lCésar Thomson qui lui enseigne l'art du violon et surtout celui du quatuor à cordes. Alfred Pochon obtient son diplôme ainsi qu'un premier prix de violon en 1897.

Il donne un de ses premiers concerts en tant que soliste au Casino de Saint-Pierre à Genève en 1889; il y joue avec succès le Septième Concerto de Spohr. Alfred Pochon est déjà en 1890 dans les rangs des violons de l'orchestre des Concerts classiques de Genève, dirigé par Hugo de Senger. Il tient également le pupitre de premier violon dans l'orchestre Eugène Ysaÿe, fondé et dirigé par ce dernier à Bruxelles. En 1901, il quitte la Belgique pour Vienne avant de découvrir les Etats-Unis.

En 1903 le violoniste fonde, avec l'appui financier de son ami le banquier E.-J. de Coppet, le Quatuor du Flonzaley à New York, ce quatuor le fait voyager en Europe, en Amérique du Nord et à Cuba. En 1922, Alfred Pochon s'installe à Lutry. C'est ici que dorénavant se rencontrent les membres du Quatuor. En mai 1929, après la cessation de l'activité du Quatuor du Flonzaley, Alfred Pochon crée avec Nicolas Moldavan le Quatuor Stradivarius avec lequel il enchaîne les tournées durant neuf ans. En 1941, il devient directeur du Conservatoire de Musique de Lausanne jusqu'en 1957. En 1944, il crée la Gazette musicale du Conservatoire de Lausanne.
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Jacques Thibaud
France, °1880 - 1953
The violinist Jacques Thibaud was born in 1880 in Bordeaux. Before beginning a solo career, he was an orchestra violinist, discovered by conductor Édouard Colonne. Friend and follower of Eugène Ysaÿe (who dedicated him his Second Sonata), Jacques Thibaud personifies the classical French violonist whose playing is both elegant and enchanting. A remarkable performer of Mozart, he was one of the members of a memorable trio including the cellist Pablo Casals and the pianist Alfred Cortot. Owing to the contest which he founded in 1943 with Marguerite Long, Jacques Thibaud also devoted himself to a teaching career in l'École normale de Musique and l'Académie Chighiana de Sienne. He died in 1953 in a plane crash, on his way to Asia. His 1720 Stradivarius perished with him.
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Carlo Van Neste
Belgium, °1914 - 1992
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