There’s a Menuhin Test?!

Having spent some time with child prodigy guitarists in China, the following article in the Spectator struck a resonant chord with me – probably putting a strain on my own sense of loyalty as well as East-West relationships!
NYGE is also no stranger to the Yehudi Menuhin School (which has a similar background ethos to the Menuhin Test). As well as using the school for our courses and concerts, we have also had talented musicians from its students.

‘The truth is,’ says Gordon Back (the legendary accompanist for Yehudi Menuhin) , lowering his voice, ‘that if the violin finalists from the BBC Young Musician of the Year were to enter the Menuhin Competition, they wouldn’t make it to the first round.’ Not through the first round, note, but to the first round: they wouldn’t be good enough to compete.

Back is artistic director of the Menuhin, held every two years in a different country. In effect, it’s a search for the next Yehudi Menuhin, who recorded the Elgar concerto with the composer at the age of 15.

Contentious words and I often wonder about why Eastern musicians have taken so readily to Western classical music. It isn’t a question of lack of cultural background either.

Here’s an interesting story…
and here’s an article on (mis)appropriation to stir your little grey cells this Sunday morning.

Touch Wood in a Japanese Forest with Bach

Go to the woods of Kyushu, Japan.

Engineer a massive  marimba to run down the slope of a forested hill. Take a wooden ball, place it at the top of said instrument, and push it. What do you get? Bach’s treatment of a traditional church hymn! Namely, “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.”

and here is how it was done-

A spectacular feat of engineering and creativity. And just guess what inspired its making?

Some time ago, I had the idea of having a railing which you could run a stick along, which would play a tune in the same way, and the railing turned into a maze. (You would be able to find your way out by “playing” the tune. Managed to get the local council interested and even had a park lined up, but alas, the funding fell through!
This is just a lovely idea and brought to my attention by Eli Kassner – thanks Eli!

PS If your Japanese is up to it, here is a TED talk from the creator behind the project. Shake your mind!

Japan Airlines offers free guitar boxes to ease travelling musicians’ worries | RocketNews24

This is more like it. Makes me want to fly to Japan more! Contrast previous posts here and here

Recommendations and more stories here.

“For outgoing instrument service, we offer small and large instrument cases to support our customers on trips with important instruments. Now in response to customer feedback we have dispatched guitar sized cases (137cm x 44cm x 21cm) to all airports offering domestic flights. Until now, in such a case you would have to check it as fragile baggage, but from now you can ask for our guitar-exclusive case. JAL will continue to provide you with the best possible service in the future.” image

Japan Airlines offers free guitar boxes to ease travelling musicians’ worries | RocketNews24.