Mayor Levar Stoney is seen on the screen during the announcement that Richmond won the bid to host the 2020 Menuhin Competition. Richmond was competing against London and Melbourne, Australia, for the spot.

They could’ve had the bright lights of New York’s famed Carnegie Hall, or been lured by the pomp and prestige of London. Melbourne tried, too, but the Aussies will have to wait.

Richmond, once again, has charmed its way into the international spotlight as host of the Menuhin Competition, an international 11-day showcase that brings together 44 of the world’s best violinists ages 8 to 21.

Festivities start on May 14, 2020.

This year, competition for those 44 spots hit an all-time high.

Menuhin Competition Richmond 2020 received a record 321 applications, the most applications since its inception in 1983, and more than the 2018 applicant pool of 317.

This group includes double the number of children ages 10 and under — 16 in all — while 10 individuals are from Virginia.

Selected musicians will be notified and announced in January.

The Menuhin Competition was created by and continues to honor the late Yehudi Menuhin, a New York City-born violin prodigy who opened a violin school for gifted musicians ages 8 to 19 in England in 1963. The 44 positions are divided equally between juniors (ages 15 and under) and seniors (ages 16 to 21). Richmond is only the second U.S. city to host the event. Austin, Texas, hosted in 2014.

Richmond Symphony Executive Director David J.L. Fisk called the talent that will descend upon Richmond next year “absolutely extraordinary,” particularly because some of the world’s best musicians are children as young as 8.

“They’re touched by genius in some way,” he said about their abilities, and “to have 44 like that ... all in one place at the same time — it’s going to have a huge impact on everyone who hears them.”

Fisk said that while the musicians will compete for prizes that reach $20,000, the exposure is just as valuable. Like scouts for athletes, music managers attend the competition, Fisk said, and for a few lucky musicians, being noticed means “your career could be laid out for you.”

For tickets and information about Menuhin Competition Richmond 2020 events, visit https://2020.menuhincompetition.org.

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