Interview with Violin Competition Judge: Chen Rutang

July 24, 2008 Updated: December 28, 2008

NEW YORK—During the rehearsals of NTDTV’s Chinese International Violin Competition, Chen Rutang, conductor of the Divine Performing Arts Orchestra and one of the judges of the competition, talked about the aims and intentions of the musical event, taking place from July 25th to 27th in New York City’s Town Hall Foundation.

Epoch Times (ET): Mr. Chen, you are one of the judges in NTDTV’s first International Violin Competition. Where do the judges come from?

Chen Rutang (CR): Most of them are well known violinists themselves. Half of them are ethnic Chinese, the other half are Westerners.

ET: What is your goal for hosting this competition?

CR: We do have expectations and results we want to achieve. The first is to create a platform for Asian and Chinese violinists to meet with each other and share their experiences. Our second wish is to discover hidden treasures—unknown great violinists.

ET: What is the intention of this especially Chinese violin competition?

CR: The violin became very popular among different cultures and nationalities and many of them made it a part of their own culture. Although the violin is a Western instrument, there have been a lot of Chinese violin players that became very famous, and in the violin section of the great Western philharmonic orchestras you can see a growing Asian presence. Still only a limited number of them are Chinese.

In hosting this competition, we want to find talent and at the same time encourage more Chinese to become professional musicians.

ET: What do you think makes the violin a beloved instrument all over the world?

CR: In the Western philharmonic orchestras the violin is a main character and leading instrument. For most people it sounds like the female voice. Cello, viola, and double bass all sound much like human singing. If you put all of them together, the ear picks up the violin the best, because its higher pitch is more audible to human ears. It’s similar to a mountain range. The top is always the most obvious.

ET: Do you think there is a special inner quality that the Chinese, due to their nation’s character, can contribute to the worldwide culture of violin performing?

CR: Definitely! Even in the same school you can hear the different interpretations of the music. Some Asian violinists were able to play like westerners, and I would say, it was their intention that made them play like Westerners, but they were not able to leave the little remaining part of their own culture behind.

If he’s playing Mozart, the personal image and feelings still come through the music. Therefore, in this competition we emphasize a good moral foundation, character and righteousness—that way, we believe, the music and message coming from the violin will be something positive.