Who We Are

Richmond Named Host City of the 2020 International Menuhin Competition

April 22, 2018 – Richmond, Virginia: Richmond has been selected as the host city for the Menuhin Competition 2020.  Often hailed as “The Olympics of the Violin”, the Menuhin Competition and festival is billed as the world’s leading international competition for young violinists. A delegation led by Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, University of Richmond (UR) First Lady Dr. Betty Crutcher, Richmond Symphony Executive Director David J.L. Fisk, Interim Music Department Chair for Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Dr. James Wiznerowicz and VP/GM for TV for Commonwealth Public Broadcasting (WCVE) John Felton joined competition organizers in Geneva, Switzerland for the announcement of Richmond’s winning bid from the stage of the Victoria Hall during the Closing Gala Concert of the Menuhin Competition Geneva 2018 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.


The Competition will take place in Richmond May 14 – 24, 2020 in venues throughout the city including the Modlin Center for the Arts at UR, the W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts at VCU and in the Carpenter Theatre at the Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Throughout the competition 44 of the best young violinists in the world will compete for top awards in performances ranging from solo recitals to concerts with chamber groups and full orchestra. While the Richmond Symphony will be the primary accompanying orchestra for the festival, the Sphinx Virtuosi ensemble – made up exclusively of 18 of the top young Black and Latino Classical musicians – will also participate in accompanying the Junior Finals and in performances and workshops with local public schools.


“We are thrilled to be hosting the International Menuhin Competition and honored to join the company of such distinguished international destinations like Geneva in welcoming the most talented young musicians in the world to our city,” said Mayor Stoney.


“Richmond is a thriving and diverse city that is home to a number of internationally recognized artistic, educational and cultural attractions, like the Richmond Symphony,” the Mayor continued. “Our vibrant and dedicated arts community looks forward to welcoming these artists and their families in 2020, and sharing their talent and our love of music with the world.  We are especially excited for the opportunity the competition will provide to our aspiring musicians in Richmond Public Schools to rub bows with the best and perhaps inspire the next Yehudi Menuhin.”


Richmond’s bid was endorsed by Governor and First Lady McAuliffe when originally submitted. The current Governor and First Lady Northam continue the Commonwealth’s highest level of support for the Richmond Competition.  “I am delighted that Richmond was selected to host the historic 2020 Menuhin Competition,” said First Lady Pamela Northam. “The Menuhin Competition is a spectacular opportunity to cultivate Virginia’s arts community and experience unique musical talent from around the world. We look forward to welcoming both competitors and visitors to Richmond and showcasing all that our capital city has to offer.”


“The Richmond Symphony is honored to announce that we have won the bid to host the Menuhin Competition, the “Olympics of the Violin,” in Richmond in 2020. We hope that this festival will attract new visitors to our region and provide yet another indicator to the world of our City’s status as a thriving cultural center. This project represents a shining example of what the Richmond Symphony strives to do – to showcase music and musicians of the highest international quality here in RVA, alongside a deep commitment to youth development and support of the teaching of music in our region’s public schools.” – David Fisk, Executive Director of Richmond Symphony


“We are thrilled to bring the Menuhin Competition to the United States in 2020 – especially to a city as fantastic as Richmond,” says Menuhin Competition Artistic Director Gordon Black. “When we were exploring host cities, we were so very impressed with Richmond, its incredibly supportive community and its superb orchestra. Richmond is the perfect location.”


“Music has been an integral part of my life since I was a young boy. Music taught me about listening, collaboration and other skills critical for success in life,” said University of Richmond President Ronald A. Crutcher, a distinguished classical musician. “I’m delighted that the University of Richmond is part of this because the competition embodies much of what is important to our university. The competition provides these young people with opportunity to compete, succeed and see the world. And the greater community will hear amazing performances and learn about other cultures.”


“I am honored by Richmond’s selection as host of the Menuhin Competition. Along with my colleagues, I look forward to welcoming some of the world’s finest young violinists to the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University. This is a unique opportunity for all involved and we look forward to watching performances by artists with a promising future ahead of them.” – President Rao, Virginia Commonwealth University


“Richmond is a spectacularly diverse and inspired city. It is rapidly becoming a magnet for world-class artists, designers, performers and creatives to convene,” says Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts Dean Shawn Brixey. “VCUarts is deeply honored to partner with the city and its dynamic arts institutions to host these ambitious and talented young performers.”


The joint bid was submitted by a coalition headed by the Richmond Symphony with co-hosts Commonwealth Public Broadcasting (WCVE), VCU, and UR, with endorsement from the City of Richmond. Named after the famed violinist and conductor Yehudi Menuhin, the 11-day festival attracts the greatest young violinists under the age of 22 from around the world to compete through recitals, chamber concerts and showcase performances with the Richmond Symphony. Competitors are judged by a jury of some of the world’s most celebrated musicians who also perform in recitals and other concerts throughout the festival.


The Menuhin Competition Geneva 2018 attracted 317 entries from the world’s very best young violinists representing 51 nationalities. The 44 have been invited to participate represent 17 nationalities and will visit Geneva from five continents. Past competition hosts have included: Oslo, Norway (2010); Beijing, China (2012); Austin, Texas (2014); London, England (2016); and Geneva, Switzerland (April, 2018).


The Competition will be broadcast world-wide through international streaming, with components recorded for television broadcast by WCVE potentially for regional, national and international audiences. Now that the 2020 host city has been chosen, partners will work with local companies, individual donors, and foundations to secure $1.5 – $2 million required to host the Competition.


A full schedule of competition events and activities to be released at a later date. For more information about the Menuhin Competition visit: http://menuhincompetition.org/home/.

#          #          #

About the Richmond Symphony

Celebrating its 60th Anniversary Season in 2017/18, the Richmond Symphony is the largest performing arts organization in Central Virginia, and its reach extends throughout the Metro Richmond region and across the Commonwealth from its home downtown in the Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts. The organization includes an orchestra of more than 70 professional musicians, the 150-voice Richmond Symphony Chorus and over 260 students in the four ensembles in the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra Program. Each season, more than 200,000 people enjoy its live concerts and radio broadcasts. The Richmond Symphony also provides inspirational and immersive educational programming for over 55,000 students and teachers each year.


Its 40-week season (from September through June, plus an annual July 4th concert and summer concert series) includes the following series and programs under the headings of Classics, Currents and Community: Masterworks, Pops, Metro Collection, Casual Fridays, LolliPops, Rush Hour, Discovery, Come & Play, Messiah, Big Tent community festivals, and annual contracts with Richmond Ballet and Virginia Opera.  The Richmond Symphony was recently named as one of 21 American orchestras selected as a leader in orchestra innovation by the League of American Orchestras through its Futures Fund Initiative. The Richmond Symphony is partially funded by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.



Scott Dodson

Director of Advancement and Patron Communications

804.788.4717 ext. 120



Erin Frye

Marketing and PR Manager

804.788.4717 ext. 121