A password will be e-mailed to you. Cancel

  • Most Respected Classical Music Platform
  • #classicalForever

VC INSIGHT | Violinist Kristóf Baráti – 'Inside the Queen Elisabeth Comp Alcatraz' [BLOG]

1997 Queen Elisabeth International Violin Competition 3rd prize winner, violinist Kristóf Baráti guest blogs about his experience inside the infamous Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth 

As we have come to know, it is a long established mandatory condition of the Queen Elisabeth Competition for all 12 finalists to spend the preceding 7 days to their Final Round appearance within the closed confines of the Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth conservatory – so to focus physically and mentally and study the previously unpublished set work without external influence.

1997 3rd prize winner, violin virtuoso Kristóf Baráti, guest blogs about his experience inside the infamous Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth:


“O my! The 1997 Queen Elisabeth Competition seems like such another world away for me now.

It was a surreal experience, and certainly a highly intense way to celebrate my 18th birthday.

My host family during the earlier rounds had been so nice, supportive and accommodating to me, so before entering the Chapelle I remember feeling apprehensive. In my 17-year-old imagination, I think I was thinking I was about to be locked up in Alcatraz.

Upon arriving at the Chapelle, I remember being given the right to one 'last call' before they took away my huge 'brick' cell phone, with double sized batteries, and handed me the score to “Raptus” by Hendrik Hofmeyr.

I was sad to see my lifeline gone – as I swear I only would have used it to call my girlfriend.

Luckily for us, 1997 was the very beginning of the internet era, so no real online detox was required. (Quite unbelievable to think?)

As I entered the Chapelle as one of the last candidates the place was full when I arrived. I remember the building as being a little 'retro' although very clean and very organised – with the most promising piece of furniture for maintaining sanity: the well worn ping-pong table.

I obviously spent a lot of my time during the week alone learning the new work, but I also remember a great feeling of collegiality – with a number of us coming together at various times to compare and exchange fingering solutions.

The 1997 new work was certainly complicated and included some usual requests, such as tuning the E string down at one point, but by end, I believe we all came to enjoy it.

Congratulations to my friend Andrew Haveron, now Concertmaster of the Sydney Symphony, who was awarded the 'Best Performance' prize of the work – and of course Nikolaj Znaider, who took the 1997 grand prize.

The saddest part of the Chapelle experience, I recall was actually as the finals began and seeing my new friends diminish from our home day by day.

The Queen Elisabeth competition, with its huge repertoire requirements and the sheer physical and mental intensity of it, is definitely a unique and gigantic mountain to climb – but wow, what fantastic life memories!





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

upcoming events

june 2023

28mayAll Day16julSitka International Cello Seminar(All Day) The Miner Music Center at Stevenson Hall, 104 Jeff Davis St. Sitka, Alaska 99835Event Type :Other Event TagsSitka International Cello SeminarFOLLOW

02junAll Day10Michael Hill International Violin Competition(All Day) Auckland Town Hall, Queen Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010, New ZealandEvent Type :competitions Event Tagscompetition,Michael Hill International Violin CompetitionFOLLOW

08junAll Day18Bachfest Leipzig(All Day) Leipzig, LeipzigEvent Type :Other Event TagsBachfest,LeipzigFOLLOW

10jun8:30 pm10:30 pmVirtual EventNorth Shore Chamber Music Festival Presents: Your Heart's Desire8:30 pm - 10:30 pm Event Type :Streams Event TagsNorth Shore Chamber Music FestivalFOLLOW

23jun9:00 pm11:00 pmVirtual EventMinnesota Orchestra Presents "Juneteenth: Celebration of Freedom"9:00 pm - 11:00 pm Event Type :Streams Event TagsMinnesota OrchestraFOLLOW

july 2023

03julAll Day09Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition(All Day) Melbourne Recital Center, 31 Sturt Street, Southbank VIC 3006, AustraliaEvent Type :competitions Event TagsMelbourne International Chamber Music CompetitionFOLLOW

07julAll Day15The Malher Competition(All Day) Joseph-Keilberth-Saal, Konzerthalle Bamberg Mußstraße 1 96047 Bamberg GERMANYEvent Type :competitions Event Tagsconducting competition,The Malher CompetitionFOLLOW

14julAll Day23Festival Napa Valley — 15th Anniversary Edition(All Day) The CIA at Copia, 500 1st St, Napa, CA 94559Event Type :Other Event TagsFestival Napa ValleyFOLLOW


Get ALL our latest conveniently by EMAIL

Our newsletter is trusted by over 100,000+ industry professionals around the world

We deliver news straight to your inbox and will never share your data.
You'll never miss a beat!

click left click right