Violinist Eva Rabchevska — “How to plan the repertoire for juggling competitions/concerts?”

“How to successfully plan repertoire to play when balancing many competitions and gigs?” We asked the winner of the Stuttgart International Violin Competition, Eva Rabchevska

Ukrainian violinist Eva Rabchevska has won first prize at the 2021 Stuttgart International Violin Competition, in Stuttgart, Germany. Hosted by the Stuttgart University of Music and Performing Arts and the Guadagnini Foundationthe next edition of the competition will take place in 2024.

As many young violinists prepare entries for competitions like the Stuttgart Competition, they may have questions about how to choose repertoire and balance the many performance opportunities presented to them. The Violin Channel was privileged to get Eva’s expert advice on the subject.

“Choosing a repertoire for competitions is a very important step in preparation, especially when combining several competitions/festivals over a short period of time. When it comes to selecting a variety of repertoires, I would suggest choose pieces that can work for many different gigs/festivals It is important to choose repertoire that you feel confident in and that can express versatile facets of your creativity and musicality.

Of course, different competitions require different compulsory works. We most often see contemporary music, which can be quite difficult to work on in a short period of time. My suggestion would be to start and focus your time practicing parts that you are less familiar and comfortable with. Contemporary music very often needs time to be read calmly, to decide on fingerings, bowing, phrasing, harmonic structure. Simply put, you have to get used to the composer’s new musical language. Meanwhile, in your workout routine, you can incorporate works that you feel more confident about and need less time to get into shape.

On a daily basis, it is impossible to have in your hands a huge repertoire for different competitions. Therefore, mental practice, listening to recordings, analyzing and taking notes in your score will be really helpful and save you from practicing too much.

The next important step in your preparation is to browse the directory. It will help to find out the unexpected challenges that one might face during the actual performance and to work on the stamina. First, I would suggest performing the works you are least confident about in front of your friends or colleagues.

Especially with contemporary music, it would be ideal if your friends could follow the score during your performance so that they can give you honest opinions and advice. Then you can try playing whole rounds of a competition to see how best to distribute your power and find what order of pieces would be the most practical. If you have the chance to perform live, try to incorporate as many competition pieces as possible, especially those with orchestral or chamber works.

Very often in my case, there was no chance of performing the final concerto or the compulsory piece with orchestra at least once before the competition. In this situation, the overall score should become your best friend. Try to point out places that could potentially be difficult when playing with an orchestra. As you play, try to imagine the harmonic structure of the room as well as the voices and themes of the other instruments. You also need to take into consideration the specifics of different orchestral instruments: the dynamic range, articulation, and sound color they have. Therefore, your part will always be in the context of these details.

At the end of the day, it’s very important to prioritize your mental health. Preparing huge programs is always overwhelming. There is a risk of getting lost in a practice room all day and focusing too much on perfection. Remember to live and experience things, meet friends, and spend quality time with your family. If not, what can you express through your acting if you’re not living the real life?

-Eva”

Graduated from Bratislava State Conservatoryin Slovakia, and current student of Zakhar Bron to Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofia, in Madrid, Eva is a former grand prize-winner of the Carl Flesch and Karol Lipinski international violin competitions. She was also one of the twelve finalists of the prestigious 2019 Queen Elisabeth International Violin Competition.

After winning the Stuttgart CompetitionEva received €25,000, as well as a number of significant solo orchestral debuts, including concerto engagements with the Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphoniker Hamburg Orchestra, Philharmonie Südwestfalen, Symphoniker Nürnberg Orchestra , the Robert-Schumann-Philharmonie Chemnitz, the Mecklenburgische Staatskapelle Schwerin and the Erfurt Philharmonic Orchestra.

She was also offered the use of a fine Giovanni Battista Guadagnini violin from 1746 for three years – generously loaned from the collection of the Guadagnini Foundation.

She will give concerts with the Mecklenburg State Orchestra at the Mecklenburg State Theater in Schwerin on January 1 and 7, 2023.

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