Russian and South Korean share first prize 
as Jan Rakowski Competition opens up to foreign candidates 

Photo T. Boniecki

Karolina Errera, 20, from Russia, and Sejune Kim, 25, from South Korea have shared first prize at the Jan Rakowski Viola Competition in Poznań, Poland. The two winners also each received a special prize endowed by the Mayor of Poznań. This is the first time in its history that that competition has accepted participants from outside Poland. Errera (pictured) and Kim both study at the Berlin University of the Arts, with Wilfried Strehle and Hartmut Rohde respectively.

Four honorary distinctions went to Lucas Freund, 23, from Germany, Mingwan Kim, 22, from South Korea, Tomasz Neugebauer, 28 and Jan Snakowski, 23, both from Poland.

Further prizes went to Oliwia Kedziora as the best student-participant from the I.J. Paderewski Academy of Music in Poznań, Dominika Zofia Rembowska, Poland, as the competition’s youngest participant, and Mingwan Kim for the best performance of a work by J.S. Bach.

The Strad (18.11.2013,

The Spring of the Violin-makers

Katarzyna Kułagowska-Urbaniak (Let's Fly, Poznan Airport Magazine, No. 2 2011)


Tim Homfray reports on a series of inspiring concerto performances

The young Polish violinist Agata Szymczewska, prizewinner of a string of international competitions, also boasts a London Music Masters Award, which enabled her to make her debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) under Osmo Vänskä on 13 October (Royal Festival Hall). She performed, like many a debutant before her, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto. It was an accomplished performance, poised, full of charm and youthful energy. She is not the first to treat the second subject of the opening movement as a rubato-laden reverie, but she did it nicely.

Charm and youthful energy from Agata Szymczewska in the Mendelssohn Concerto.

There was a fine sense of scale in all her playing, combining joy and colour with delicacy and purpose, and she blazed through the finale, provoking an instant noisy ovation from a phalanx of young listeners in the audience who cheered and hooted. She provided them, and us, with a short encore, Bacewich's arrangement of a Polish folk tune, a colourful, virtuosic bon-bon delivered with winning style (...)

                                                                                                                                               Tim Homfray (The Strad, January 2011, p. 93)

Wieniawski... at Full Speed!

Preparations for the International Henryk Wieniawski Competitions which in 2011 are held in Poznan (8-14 May - the Violin Making Competition and 8-23 October - the Violin Competition) are going at full blast.

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The chairmen and the jury of both competitions have already been appointed. The 12th International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Making Competition will be chaired by Roger Hargrave, whereas Maxim Vengerov, a famous virtuoso and conductor, will chair the 14th International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition. In September 2010, Maestro Vengerov started preliminary selections – the first event of this kind in the history of the competition. 172 candidates from 26 countries put forward their applications. So far, the preliminary selections have taken place in seven cities – Bergamo, London, Quebec, Yokohama, Seoul, Moscow, and Baku. The largest meeting with the chairman will be held next year in Brussels and Poznan. The names of the participants shortlisted for the 14th International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition will be announced at the beginning of May.

Exactly one year prior to the Violin Competition – on 8 October 2010 – an exceptional musical happening took place in the terminal of Poznan Airport. Young artists from Poznan Academy of Music performed for the passengers, visitors, and the airport staff. Two other institutions of higher education, University of Economics and Adam Mickiewicz University, are also contributing to preparations of the Wieniawski Year. In the newly open aula, the concert by Agata Szymczewska and Justyna Danczowska inaugurated the series of musical evenings called “Learn to love the violin”. The students of Adam Mickiewicz University will get the chance to meet their peers from the Academy of Music, and at the same time the candidates for the 14th Violin Competition, in the series of concerts with the common title “After Chopin, Before Wieniawski”. You are cordially invited to the next concerts (for more information on the concerts, visit!

On 22 November, during the conference in Marriott Hotel in Warsaw, Maxim Vengerov (the chairman of the jury of the 14th International Violin Competition), Andrzej Wituski (Director of International Henryk Wieniawski Competitions), and Andrzej Kosowski (Director of Music and Dance Institute) answered the questions of journalists and guests.

PROLOGUE IN WARSAW: On 22 November, Warsaw Philharmonic saw the promotion of both competitions. In the concert “Wieniawski Prologue” performed the winners of the previous editions: Alena Baeva (2001) and Agata Szymczewska (2006), as well as Polish Orchestra Sinfonia Iuventus conducted by Maxim Vengerov. Music lovers who arrived at the event in great numbers listened to Leonore Overture in C major, Op. 72b by Ludwig van Beethoven, the Violin Concerto in D minor Op. 47 by Jean Sibelius, and the Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77 by Johannes Brahms.

                                                                                                        Izabela Jackowiak (Let's Fly, Poznan Airport Magazine, No. 3 2010)

Prologue to Wieniawski Violin Competition

   World famous violinist and conductor Maxim Vengerov, who will be chairman of the jury at next year’s International Henryk Wieniawski Competition in Poznan, said at a press conference in Warsaw that he has so far auditioned fifty prospective participants. Vengerov said the violinists represent very high standards, with over 170 violinists hailing from 26 countries, including Poland, Russia, Japan, South Korea, the United States and France billed to take part in the preliminary auditions. Auditions have already been held in Bergamo, London and Seoul and are scheduled in the coming months in Baku, Moscow, Brussels and Poznan.  A final list of 45 entrants will be announced in early May with the competition being held on 8-23 October 2011. The jury is also to include the violinists Zakhar Bron from Russia, Erich Gruenberg  from Great Britain and Koichiro Harada from Japan, as well as the Russian conductor Yuri Simonov. The legendary Polish-born virtuoso Ida Haendel is to be the jury’s honorary chairwoman.

Held for the first time in Warsaw in 1935, the Wieniawski Competition is the world’s oldest violin competition. It moved to Poznan after a lapse of 17 years and has been held in that city since 1952, usually every five years.

Henry Wieniawski (1835-1880) was a child prodigy, who entered the Paris Conservatoire at the age of eight. He is regarded as one of the greatest violinists after Paganini.  His compositional output includes two violin concertos, mazurkas, polonaises, etudes and caprices.

                                                            Michal Kubicki and John Beauchamp (Polskie Radio dla zagranicy,, 23.11.2010)