past editions, 1955 – 1988


The Vercelli Competition named after Giovanni Battista Viotti, a composer and violinist who exerted a significant influence in the evolution of the violin in the late 18th century, is a competition that has in some ways shaped the landscape of classical music throughout the second half of the 20th century, launching many luminous musical careers. The Viotti Competition began as a multidisciplinary competition, and although it is named after a violinist, it has had piano competitions, since 1950, and opera singing competitions, since 1951, as its cornerstones. The Violin Competition, on the other hand, has had a discontinuous historical path. Its first edition was in 1955. This first edition saw the famous Turkish violinist Suna Kan emerge as the winner, while a very young Salvatore Accardo, destined to become one of the most important Italian violinists of the 20th century, took third prize.
After a long gap, the violin competition was revived in 1984. That year the first prize was not awarded, an expression of the rigorous expectations and high standards maintained by the jury. Japanese violinist Reiko Watanabe was awarded with the second prize.
Also in 1985, the competition was notable for its strictness in judging, again not awarding first prize and awarding the second prize to Alexandre Dubach, a Swiss violinist, and the third prize to Jean Marc Phillips now the violinist of the Wanderer Trio.

The year 1986 saw Gabriele Pieranunzi gaining the second prize with the first not awarded, but it was 1987 that represented a particularly notable moment in the history of the competition thanks to the presence of Yehudi Menuhin, an iconic figure in 20th-century music, as a part of the jury. In that year, Domenico Nordio won the competition at only seventeen years old, marking the beginning of his important career in music.
The last edition that was held, in 1988, confirmed the trend of those years. The second prize was won by the Japanese violinist Sachiko Segawa, and the first prize, once again, was not awarded.