Somewhat different – but still successful – the Jeunes Etoiles concert series ended this year with an online vote.
As part of the traditional Jeunes Etoiles concert series of the Gstaad Menuhin Festival, five young artists were given the opportunity to perform in the churches of Gsteig and Rougemont. As almost no seats were allocated in the churches, the audience was invited to enjoy the concerts via livestream on Gstaad Digital Festival. Afterwards, until 30 September, they could vote online for the most convincing artist. The young violinist Nathan Mierdl won the hearts of many listeners and received the most votes. As a prize, he will be given an evening concert in the main programme at the Menuhin Festival next summer.
Diligent, passionate, successful
Nathan Mierdl was born in Frankfurt am Main in 1998, where he also received his first music lessons. This was followed by training in Dijon, Boulogne-Billancourt and Paris. In 2018 he obtained a master's degree in concert violin from Roland Daugareil at the Paris Conservatoire and was engaged by the Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France as concertmaster and soloist in the same year.
In the same year, he won second prize at the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin Competition, with three other prizes to follow. Thanks to one of these prizes, the talented musician was allowed to play on a borrowed Stradivari violin for two years. When asked how he experiences the Corona pandemic, Mierdl answered in an interview with Christina Ruloff, project manager of the Gstaad Digital Festival, as follows: "You go crazy if you can play for yourself only rather than for an audience. You have to share music, experience it together." That is why he found the relationship between artist and audience much more intense in the few concerts he was able to play.
He used the time without concerts to improve his technique and to devote himself to composers for whom he otherwise did not have time.
Online as an emergency solution?
The current pandemic has only allowed live concerts to be held under the strictest of precautions and countless events have had to be cancelled. Only modern streaming technology made it possible for artists and audience to come together after all. The brisk demand for online performances can be interpreted as proof of a deeply felt need for culture by many. According to Ruloff, the audience's feedback on the livestreams was very positive and she considers the voting a success.
Of course, everybody is looking forward to times with full churches and music halls again, to the unique, precious experience of live concerts. While streaming is a pandemic emergency solution for the experienced concert visitor, for many people it is the only way to enjoy such a varied and top-class music programme. Beethoven and the numerous masters of various epochs would be thrilled about today’s possibilities to spread their works throughout the world.
Based on AvS/Çetin Köksal