It was very nice and relatively relaxing to sit on the other side of The Table! What a great time listening to so many talented violinists at the Singapore International Violin Competition with fellow jury members, Mauricio Fuks (my old teacher from Menuhin School whom I hadn’t seen in 28 years), Boris Kuschnir, Paul Rozcek, Sylvia Marcovici, Takashi Shimizu, David Takeno, Victor Tretyakov, Nam Yun Kim and Qian Zhou. Violin competitions are always such an interesting study in the psychology of a musician while playing under pressure. Few ever make it past the preconceived set of ideas that you must play “perfectly” in order to win a top prize. The ones who do stand head and shoulders over the masses of violinists who play invariably either too fast, too cold or without adventurous imagination. Often the wish not to “offend” the multitude of musical tastes on the jury results in a rather “safe” or should I say ‘bland’ telling of great musical stories. But truly, how can you ever succeed in not “offending” 10 different musical opinions ? Someone is bound not to like what you say as a musician. But in reality, NO ONE likes to be bored by an unconvincing and unimaginative musician. So you may as well be yourself and give your musical ideas full reign. Chances are, you’ll be too powerful to say no to, even if someone on the jury disagrees with your ideas. So just go for it, for goodness sake!