On 26 March 2021, a competition was held in the Centre for Fine Arts for the acquisition of a cello as part of a donation covering the acquisition of a ‘quartet’: two violins, a viola and a cello.
The jury was composed of :
– Patrick Robin, French violin maker (see: www.patrick-robin.com).
– Thomas Bertrand, Belgian violin maker (www.bertrand-violins.eu).
– Justus Grimm, German, cellist and professor at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp (www.ap.be/persoon/justus-grimm and www.concertschola.be/artistes/grimm-justus).
– Olsi Leka, Albanian, cellist, solo cellist and section leader at the Belgian National Orchestra, Professor at the Royal Conservatories of Antwerp and Brussels (www.olsileka.com).
– Jeroen Reuling, cellist, Professor of cello at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels and at the ARTEZ Institute of the Arts in the Netherlands. Jeroen Reuling is also professor at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel since 2011. He is artistic director of the Schiermonnikoog International Chamber Music Festival in the Netherlands.
– Ulrich Hauschild, former music director of the Palais des Beaux-Arts, manager of the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (conductor: Simon Rattle).
Four violin makers have made and submitted an instrument for this competition.
– Jan Strick, Belgian, who took over the Maison Bertrand, the oldest violin making workshop in Europe and is an internationally recognised expert (see: www.maison-bernard.com).
– Tanguy Fraval: French (www.clacparis.com/tanguy-fraval).
– Paolo Vettori, Italian,
– Conor Russel, Irish (www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/arid- 20453634.html).
The rules of the competition stipulated that :
– the two violin makers, members of the jury, would examine each instrument from a structural and constructive point of view;
– each performer (Justus Grimm and Olsi Leka) would play each of the instruments, solo, one after the other;
– a piano piece would also be played by these two performers on each of the instruments.
The jury’s choice was made on two bases:
– an informal exchange of views on each instrument,
– after this discussion, the result of this exchange was compared with the points identified by an elaborate rating system, weighing up the constructive opinions, those of the performers (user-friendliness, for example) and the general opinions of sound quality.
In this case, the exchange of views and points led to exactly the same result.
Jan Strick’s instrument won.
However, there was unanimous agreement on the quality of Tanguy Fraval’s instrument, for which reason an additional fundraising effort was made to acquire it as well.