Concerto Competition Results

The Competition is done. Six fine young musicians did their utmost. It was an interesting and enjoyable evening. Some audience comments below.

The competitors

Jordan Vermes (Violin Concerto No. 3, Saint-Saens)
Matthew Stubbs (Piano Concerto in C sharp minor, Poulenc)
Karnsiri Laothamatas (Mendelssohn Piano Concerto #1)
Hanjie Bai (Concerto for Saxophone and String Orchestra Op 14, Larsson)
Grace Ma (Warsaw Piano Concert, Addinsell) – Second prize
Philip Manning (Violin Concerto No. 1, Bruch) – Competition winner

Janis Kerr, cello

What did you think of the evening? — Very entertaining-well worth attending.

Which piece would you most like to play with the SPO, as a piece? Bruch violin concerto.

Did you agree with the jury’s choice of winners? Agreed with first place, didn’t agree with second place

Joanne Cowan, violin

What did you think of the evening? As usual I had fun there – I was so impressed with Janette Chrysler’s turquoise attire and the attendance of all the interested parties, not to mention the obvious talent oozing out on stage.

Which piece would you most like to play with the SPO, as a piece? I thought the adjudicators’ choice was best. The Bruch was great and will be fun. I also liked the first piano piece the Mendelssohn, and the French piano piece, Poulenc – I was impressed with how the composer handled the piano solo, especially those scrumptious chord sections-but the sax concerto, Larsson, would be challenging, I thought. Not an easy sight-read for sure! The Saint – Saëns was so wonderful a piece for violin and the young performer obviously just loved playing it.

Did you agree with the jury’s choice of winners? From the moment he walked on stage Philip Manning was a star performer-poise, ability to tune well, move with the piece but not emote excessively, obviously attentive and engaged with the whole piece, not just his solo parts. He managed to impress me with the long fast runs and challenging double-stop passages, and he handled the slow movement with sensitivity and good focus. I confess for a lot of the same reasons I was also impressed with Karnsiri Laothmatas, although it is pretty hard to play a piano out of tune so we can not count that part! She also did a great job, and I thought she had the audience engaged through out the performance. All these kids are winners and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening. Thanks to everyone involved.

Michael Anderson, violin

What did you think of the evening? I thought it was great. It was my first time to go to the competition, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I had thought perhaps each competitor would only get to play one movement, so it was wonderful to find out each concerto was played complete.
Which piece would you most like to play? I would most like to play the Max Bruch violin concerto with the SPO.
Did you agree with the jury’s choice? I was not able to stay long enough to hear all the results, but I have been told that the winner over-all was the violinist Philip Manning, and I must say I totally agree with that decision. His playing was excellent throughout, and I thought his slow movement was absolutely superb.

KT Shum, violin

What did you think of the evening? It was a great evening and we are real lucky to have so many so talented young musicians in this little city in the Canadian South Pacific.
Which piece would you most like to play? I’d like to see the Poulenc concerto on the program some time in the future.  It was probably the first time I heard it and I really liked it.

Did you agree with the jury? I don’t think there is a “run-away” winner and the judges did what they had to do.  Any of the piano concertos (especially the first and last) and the Bruch concerto would be a good choice.

Hildegard Burkart, volunteer

What did you think of the evening? I enjoyed the competition very much and so did my friend Marianne. All the contestants were very good and must have worked extremely hard to achieve the standard of performing they displayed. All in all it was a great experience, and never having been to a competition before, I will make sure we are there next year.

Which piece would you most like to hear played by the SPO? Max Bruch and Mendelssohn.

Did you agree with the jury? Yes as a matter of fact both Marianne and I and the people sitting next to us picked the winners.

Michele MacHattie, viola and piano

What did you think of the evening? It’s mind-boggling to think of the individual/collective efforts that go toward such an event:  the desire and ability of Norman and the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra to work with the soloist, the fundamental role of Janette Chrysler to make it all possible, the years of training and preparation of each young musician, their parents’ support and dedication, the organizing that needs to start months in advance, the accompanists’ skills, and of course the marathon-like delivery of six wonderful concerti. It’s a privilege to observe and to be part of it all!

Which piece would you most like to play, as a piece? As an orchestral player, I would like to have tried the Poulenc piano concerto, for its playful edginess. Of course, I’m looking forward to the Bruch, having heard it many times and knowing the piano accompaniment but having never seen the viola part.

Did you agree with the jury? The jury had a tough job because all six were solid contenders. I think Philip is a fine choice as the overall winner. I had guessed that Karnsiri Laothamatas would place in the top two and actually would have chosen her as the winner.


Thank you Michele and Trevor, Lee Anderson, Alison Crone, David Lintern, Sue Hyslop, KT Shum, Bryan Potter and all the other volunteers who helped make this fine evening run so smoothly!


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