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20 out of 83 candidates selected to perform in the Queen Elizabeth Competition are Korean 6 are from the US.

http://www.cmireb.be/en/p/2/10/105/106/candidates.html

Why would there be so few from the United States? Are there big differences in pedagogy? Are there many more Korean's studying violin?

Some of those Koreans might have studied in the USA and some might even be "from" the USA. Of course there is a history of good American violinists of Asian ethnic origin e.g. Midori (JP), Jennifer Koh (KR), and Sarah Chang (CN). And take a look at just about any orchestra and you'll find many players of Asian ethnic origin. And what about previous runnings of the competition? Same kind of "imbalance"?

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Well, speaking from personal experience. . .

The kids I meet coming out of the Chinese and Korean schools are awesome players. I think that many of the best of them come over here for their most advanced training, but their technical foundations are already rock solid. I'm very interested in the musical education system over there.

For example, a violinist friend of mine was telling me about how from a very young age in the Chinese conservatory system, children are drilled in perfect pitch exercises. He estimated that by the time they're teenagers, 8 out of 10 violinists in the top programs have perfect pitch. My friend was a phenomenal violinist (he's playing with New World right now), he had perfect pitch, and he was happy and well-adjusted. They're doing something right in China.

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To that list of outstanding, young Korean violinists, add Ju-Young Baek. She played the Mozart D major concerto with the Boise Philharmonic in February. She played with all the clarity and finesse that Mozart needs. The ensemble between orchestra and soloist was just outstanding. Not every guest soloist worries about that. She studied at Curtis with Aaron Rosand and at Julliard with Robert Mann.

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Some of those Koreans might have studied in the USA and some might even be "from" the USA. Of course there is a history of good American violinists of Asian ethnic origin e.g. Midori (JP), Jennifer Koh (KR), and Sarah Chang (CN). And take a look at just about any orchestra and you'll find many players of Asian ethnic origin. And what about previous runnings of the competition? Same kind of "imbalance"?

Most of the Asian students study in the USA. Some study in Europe where Zakhar Bron has had a huge influence. (can't do the umlauts) These things go in cycles, first the Italians, then the French, the Russians, the Jews, the Eastern Europeans, the Asians now, etc. I strongly believe that true musicians will rise above all the political crap. Just like violin makers.

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Korea is not that huge a country, population around 30 million, the US has a population of 300 million. I don't think that any of the players in the Queen Elizabeth could be considered less than artists and they have risen to the top. I don't know that an artist will rise to the top in something as exacting as violin without careful technical training from a fairly young age. What is their training before they come to the US or Europe and get "polished" and how many of the 20 Koreans in the Queen Elizabeth left Korea, for a significant amount of time for foreign training, I obviously could be wrong but I would guess that while some chose to do that many were trained in their own country by some very great pedagogues about whom I know NOTHING.

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Korea is not that huge a country, population around 30 million, the US has a population of 300 million. I don't think that any of the players in the Queen Elizabeth could be considered less than artists and they have risen to the top. I don't know that an artist will rise to the top in something as exacting as violin without careful technical training from a fairly young age. What is their training before they come to the US or Europe and get "polished" and how many of the 20 Koreans in the Queen Elizabeth left Korea, for a significant amount of time for foreign training, I obviously could be wrong but I would guess that while some chose to do that many were trained in their own country by some very great pedagogues about whom I know NOTHING.

++++++++++++++++++

" Korean" you meant "South Korean". The West (or USA) has a great deal of influence on this country.

Christianity and Western culture grow in particular after the war (W II), and the Korean war.

Their education system is pretty good and competitive. Their youngsters take all studies seriously

and afraid of being left out.

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" Korean" you meant "South Korean".

Is that what I meant? I was wondering because I was actually just following the nomenclature used by the Queen Elizabeth Competition itself. It is interesting to know that when the competition writes Korean that they are referring only to South Korea. I wondered whether any North Koreans were able to participate. Thanks Fellow, for the elucidation!

Also in looking up populations on the web I didn't specify North or South Korea I just asked for the population of Korea. Is that population of 30 million just South Korea or is that all of Korea? If it is al of Korea than the pedagogical methods of South Korea with a population of well under 30 million are even more admirable than I thought.

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" Korean" you meant "South Korean".

Is that what I meant? I was wondering because I was actually just following the nomenclature used by the Queen Elizabeth Competition itself. It is interesting to know that when the competition writes Korean that they are referring only to South Korea. I wondered whether any North Koreans were able to participate. Thanks Fellow, for the elucidation!

Also in looking up populations on the web I didn't specify North or South Korea I just asked for the population of Korea. Is that population of 30 million just South Korea or is that all of Korea? If it is al of Korea than the pedagogical methods of South Korea with a population of well under 30 million are even more admirable than I thought.

++++++++++++++

I looked up "World Atlas," ( a book I bought in 1999 in US ) where it indicated the population of South Korea was 45 millions.

It is a remarkable country. I have some Korean 5 friends who I have known in US, 3 out of 5 are violinists.

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If you think 20 from 83 is an aberation

take a look at any professional womens' golf leader board...!

It's not just string playing that holds an attraction

for high level achievement, it would seem...?

A former mentor of mine who had Korean students claimed

they may play with technical efficiency but little soul.

I believe that to be unfair.

(and seem to recall something similar being said

of products of the Russian conservatory system in times past?)

Looking at that same list, going on the nanes alone,

my quick count also reveals that

only about 25 are not of East Asian ethnic origin?

While the term, 'Korean', obviously refers to people from either side of the DMZ,

in practical terms most fiddle players and golfers will hail from the South.

The total combined population of North and South Korea

would proabaly be something near to 65-70 million?

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"A former mentor of mine who had Korean students claimed

they may play with technical efficiency but little soul."

Yeah I am with you Omobono, I have heard similar things said and it always makes me feel like vomiting.

It seems to be the sort of thing that one would say if they were very short on soul themselves.

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I heard from a Chinese violinist that when he was little studying in China they would have him run as fast as he could for five minutes and then play the violin while his heart was still throbbing in his chest so that he could learn to continue playing well under those conditions. I think this is a good idea.

Also according to a radio show I listened to, Chinese is a pitch based language, pitch and interval help create the meaning in the word, ma-aah has many different meanings depending on how you sing it, according to the show many chinese have perfect pitch as a result. Is Korean also a pitch dependent language?

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Also according to a radio show I listened to, Chinese is a pitch based language, pitch and interval help create the meaning in the word, ma-aah has many different meanings depending on how you sing it, according to the show many chinese have perfect pitch as a result. Is Korean also a pitch dependent language?

Korean is non tonal. Perfect pitch is much more common among young Chinese students than among American students of a similar age and it is is theorized that it is because they learn to recognize tonal variation at an early age. I don't think there have been any studies comparing Korean and Chinese students in this respect.

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On the 51th Paganini competition in Genova, there was just one non oriental finalist:

http://www.paganini.comune.genova.it/premi...s/finalists.htm

Many girl competitors were with their mothers in Genova, and I loved that.

The increasing number of Oriental players is a blessing for new makers. That's why I have my site

in Korean also.

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At the risk of perpetuating a stereotype, I think the incredible work ethic of the Asian students I've met goes a long way in explaining their success, regardless of field.

Back in the 1980's getting a degree in the emerging field of computer science struck me as a good idea. At that time US universities had mainframes with a lot of terminal monitors, with no processing power of their own, connected to them. So there was one processing unit for a lot of the students on the system. The more people that were on the system, the slower the system ran. It didn't take long to figure out that 2:00 AM was a good time to be in the terminal room if you wanted to get your work done efficiently. The times I went in at that hour, I saw predominantly, sometimes only Asian students there. The Asian students seemed to know what it took to get the job done, and were willing to do it.

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I don't know if this is true of South Koreans but in his autobiography pianist Lang Lang said that the Chinese in particular are very focused on music competitions as proof of who's the "best" player. After he came to the US to study at Curtis his teacher Gary Graffman convinced him it would be best for his development as an artist to quit competing but when he returned to China he was belittled for that.

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2004 Violin Society of America Gold Medal for Violin Making winner Feng Jiang took part in a panel discussion at the 2008 Portland, OR, VSA convention about Chinese violin making. One of the observations that he made was that US makers work in a fairly relaxed manner compared to China. Feng Jiang currently has his shop in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He said he would be making more violins yearly if he were working back in China, if for no other reason than to keep up and compete in production with his colleagues.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Stringed instruments are very popular in Asia. Probably more so than in the U.S., where they're currently considered a "geeky" instrument.

That being said, I don't know how much I'd read into the nationalities listed. It's kind of like the Olympics, where you might live/study/work in Country A but choose to compete for Country B. Yura Lee, for example, has been in the country for probably 15 years and studied with all sorts of prominent teachers here. I think Ji-yoon Park studies in France. Classical music is a global community anymore. :)

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Many Koreans are by American standards obsessed with education to include classical music training. Education in Korea, China, Japan has been identified with furture success for possibly thousands of years. I believe China started this trend in some long past dynasty when they established a civil service. In order to gain a government job, long hours of study in learning how to read and write and then passing an exam was required. Successfully passing this exam could lead to a life long job and future success. Today, education is still seen as the road to success. In Korea, the national Univerities are ranked and those who graduate from the number 1 University look down on those who graduated from the number 2 school. Koreans are fanatical about "status", such as did you graduate from Harvard or some non name state college. Often when they meet people they will try to establish their status by asking lots of questions. They will rank people they meet by the school they graduated from, etc.

When Sarah Chang or some other Korean excells at violin, just re inforces parents to enroll their children in music. Music education is espcially seen as a way for girls to succeed. Same trend whith Michelle Wei and golf.

Many, many Korean parents enroll their children in pianno, violin, etc. the shear numbers in just piano and violin in Korea may exceed those in the US. Its something of a numbers game. If a million children study violin, then the number who excell will be greater than those from the US

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In korea, since so many parents push their kids into music, teaching music can be much much more lucrative than in the US. If a teacher has a music degree, they can charge more and can attract more students. A masters is even better. A degree from a top Korean Univeristy is better. A postgradutate degree from Yale is even better. Julliard is considered the #1 school. Winning competitions is also a way to boost status.

With the right "credentials" a violin player could open a music school, and teach many students, which would earn more than tutoring 1 to 1.

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I'm just wondering, what happens to the rest of the children who don't make it. For every one violinist who makes it, there are hundreds who don't and in a society where you have to be the best, I'm sure the "underachievers" have a problem. Korea seems to have one of the highest suicide rates of the developed world.

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the unfortunate side effect of pushing kids hard is a much higher sucide rate even among preteens in Korea. If kids are not pushed, put in long hours (get up at 6 for school, tutors after school, music, study, etc, in bed by 1 or 2am. this is a daily schedule), then they are looked at as losers. The school system in Korea are partly to blame. Unlike the US, students have to take tests at certain stages to make it to the next level. Fail a test, permantly put on a lower track, which means can no longer go to top Korean University. In the US kids kill themselves for being bullied. In Korea, they kill themselves because they let their parents down.

there are other cultural factors for pushing hard. example: There is a discrepancy in that there are more males than females. In other words, young women can be much pickier. If a guy doesn't have a decent job, his own apartment, etc, he has a very difficult finding time finding a korean wife. Just another incentive to push hard. A degree from a top university is seen as a ticket to success, marriage, money.

Many men if they are making less than ~25,000 with no degree and not likely to earn more complain that they can't get married. Women won't look at them. China is even worse on the gender difference.

There is also a trend in Korea to have fewer children. When Asian parents have fewer kids, they tend to put a lot more time, effort, money, pressure to try to ensure that their child is successful. It is like putting all your eggs in one basket. In china, it is worse, parents have only one chance for success.

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