25-year-old violinist Lun Li from China and 21-year-old violinist Tianyou Ma from China have been awarded joint first prize at the 2021 Lillian and Maurice Barbash J.S. Bach String Competition in Stony Brook, Long Island.
Lun is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Ida Kavafian, and is a current post-graduate violin student of Joseph Lin and Catherine Cho at The Juilliard School. Last month he was also announced as one of four winners at the 2021 Young Concert Artists International Auditions.
LUN LI | BACH | SONATA NO. 1 IN G MINOR | 2021 LILLIAN & MAURICE BABASH J.S. BACH COMPETITION
A student of Pamela Frank and Shmuel Ashkenasi at the Curtis Institute of Music, Tianyou is a former prize winner at the awarded prizes at the Menuhin and Postacchini International Violin Competitions.
TIANYOU MA | BACH | SONATA NO. 3 IN C MAJOR | 2021 LILLIAN & MAURICE BABASH J.S. BACH COMPETITION
They will both receive $5000 and be offered performance opportunities at the Island Symphony Bach Festival in Bay Shore, New York.
"This competition is unusual in that the participants are only required to play one sonata, suite, or partita of Bach, 2021 jury member, cellist Colin Carr told The Violin Channel. "It’s such a simple format: two movements for the first round, and the whole piece for the final. But isn’t that telling enough?"
"The competitors may play on modern or baroque instruments and bows, on instruments with four, five, or six strings, tuned in fifths, fourths, or a combination. As competitions go, this is perhaps the most humane I have come across!" he said.
This year's jury comprised Robert Mealy, Marilyn McDonald, Arthur Haas, Eugene Drucker, and Colin Carr.
Previous first prize winners include violinist Rachell Ellen Wong and cellist Maxime Quennesson.
The Violin Channel also recently sat down with the competition's co-founder Susan Barbash, to discuss the annual event she founded with her siblings in 2019, in honor of their late parents Lillian and Maurice Barbash.
"Though they were not musicians themselves, our parents were passionate music lovers," Susan told The Violin Channel. "Our mother was one of Long Island’s pre-eminent arts presenters and our parents also served together on several orchestra boards and financed numerous music residencies and concert outings for students in our hometown."
"This competition is our way of thanking them for all they did for us and their community — and it is our way of honoring their memory and of continuing their advocacy for the arts," she said.