Saturday, September 23, 2006

After Indianapolis

The people who run the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis work for four years in order to make the event happen once every four years. I can easily say that it is worth all the effort, and that it's even worth the wait.

I arrived in Indianapolis in the middle of last week, in the thick of tremendous excitement: the beginning of the final round. It seemed like the entire music-loving population of Indianapolis, plus violinists and music lovers from around the world, were all focused on one thing: listening to six highly accomplished violinists play. The energy was tremendous, and people who had been listening to the previous rounds of the competition had developed serious personal feelings about the people playing.

There were IVCI flags all over the downtown, and a huge amount of community pride. I met wonderful people, and I could talk with them about what I heard--even at intermission. The vioinlists were so good and so different from one another, that we in the audience could disagree on matters of taste and style, and still find common ground. And everyone was happy to say what they thought. In normal life people tend not to say what they think, for fear of offending someone or exposing themselves as ignorant. The audience in Indianapolis was so used to listening critically, that talking about the music came quite naturally. And everyone was equally enthusiastic about Augustin Hadelich.

I feel for the judges. I couldn't imagine keeping quiet about what I heard both on line and in person. They were not allowed to talk with one another about any of the performances while the competition was still going on, and they had to do it day after day for two weeks. All of them are such upstanding professionals that I'm sure they stuck to their vow of silence. What a relief it must have been to finally be able to talk about the violinists--after it was all over, when everyone was planning to go their separate ways, back to their normal lives.

I left Indianapolis early in the morning after the end of the competition. For me it felt the way it feels when a circus rolls into town, puts on a great show, and then packs up and leaves. It is very sad, but the memory of the event seems to linger. I'm hoping that the sad part of this sweet sadness passes, and that I will be reminded of the 2006 IVCI every time I get a chance to hear the finalists play concerts in the "real world" or get to hear their recordings.

No comments: