Why did the idea of ​​alternating violin, viola and cello come up?

The founder of the contest, José Ramón Hevia, started the course in order to teach his violin students from the Oviedo Conservatory during summer. That idea spread to the other instruments of the quartet: thus the course and the contest were born.

In the beginning, there was a contest of these 3 instruments together. Given the very high demand for participation, in 2011 it was decided to do only one instrument each year.

How long does it take to organize the contest?

The organization of the contest begins the same day each edition ends. At that time, (August) we hold a meeting to see what improvement proposals we can put forward for the next edition. In addition to that, we modify the information on the web, we order the posters, etc. That is already from the month of October.

The busiest period is that of registrations and, obviously, the days of the contest. They are the most exciting days!

How many people participate in the organization of the violin competition, besides the participants and the jury?

In the organization we are 3 people, plus the staff of the Llanes City Council who collaborate with us in various aspects of the organization, (especially Marisa, the Councilor for Culture). Moreover, 6 members of the jury, cameras for the live broadcast of the contest, the designer, print shop, website and social media, piano tuner, trophy maker, etc.

A total of 25 people participate directly in the development of the contest.

What is the farthest country and the closest place where the participants come from?

In this edition, the most distant country would be China, from which several contestants usually come every year. We also have contestants from Spain, Germany and Ukraine. The closest place in 2021 is our neighbor Galicia.

And the edition that had the most participation?

I do not have this information, but I can say that in the first phase of the contest (there is a pre-selection by listening to recordings) we have an established maximum of 12 contestants in each modality… That number has been reached on several occasions.

Any funny anecdote that can be shared…

In my 4 years of competition, the funniest thing is communicating with the contestants from China.

They usually say yes to everything, but then you realize that they have not understood anything…

At the awards ceremonies, it is a bit more complicated, because when saying their name, some go on stage without having understood what award they have won. You always have to explain it to them at the exit of the final gala.

Winners of the Llanes cello contest 2018

22 editions of the contest later, have any contestants risen to fame?

Many, many prestigious musicians have passed through the contest. Among the winners we have musicians from various symphony orchestras, with Joaquín Riquelme, violist of the Berlin Philharmonic , Miguel Colom, concert violinist of the National Orchestra of Spain, which in this edition participates as member of the jury, or Helena Poggio, member of the Quiroga Quartet and Prize National Music Festival 2018.

Helena is also a teacher in our course and a member of the jury for the cello contest. You can consult all the winners in this link.

I don’t know if you play an instrument, but if you could choose just one, what would it be?

I’m an active pianist, so that’s my favorite instrument… But I love the three instruments we work with in Llanes. In fact, I belong to a trio ensemble with violin and cello.

What would you say to a violinist to make him/her join this edition?

In addition to the cash prizes, which are very important, they have the opportunity to perform several concerts in consolidated entities such as Juventudes Musicales de España, the Philharmonic Societies of Oviedo, Gijón and Avilés, or the Principality of Asturias Symphony Orchestra. Collaborators to whom we greatly appreciate their effort.

In addition, the atmosphere is always very good and spending a few days in Llanes is a pleasure for anyone.

Also, they have the opportunity to meet our jurors and exchange ideas with them, which is attractive to any music student.

I say goodbye with some news. This year the contest moves for the first time to the center of Llanes: the Casino. Visibility and accessibility will be gained. And next year? There will be new collaborations and improvements.

Another important note: in 2022 the violin was changed to the cello.

I encourage you to visit the website of the musical contest to be aware of everything. If you want to know more about accordion contests, here is an article about the PIF and Aris del Puerto.