E.Tushig-Erdene: The judges were surprised, as it’s rare for a girl to play contrabass


A  Mongolian female musician won the Grand Prix award at the International Music Festival in the USA. Her name is E.Tushig-Erdene, and she is a tenth grader studying at the Music and Dance College of Mongolia. E.Tushig-Erdene won the award in the contrabass category while competing at the International Music Festival for the first time.

The following is an interview with E.Tushig-Erdene about her amazing achievement.

 -Congratulations! There probably wasn’t any other Mongolian to ever compete in the contrabass category in foreign competitions. Who proposed to you to enter this year’s International Music Festival in the USA?

-Thank you. At first, I didn’t know that I was participating in this sort of competition. Our specialized instructor L.Baasankhuu only said that he’ll send my video for a competition. So I played my instrument. At the very end, I found out that my video was sent to the International Children’s Music Festival organized in the USA.

-How was the selection process conducted? Which piece did you play?

-I played a piece about Russian folks titled Krestiyanckii Tanets (Peasant Dance). This musical piece has a very good and lively rhythm. International judges judge videos sent to for the competition and selects participants.  Then, they send replies via email. In this competition, apart from me, many other Mongolian children took part. We received quite a lot of credit from the competition.

-Did you play your instrument in the USA?

-I did. Many children from countries all around the world came to compete. In the competition, participants had to play their instruments and were judged according to orders we received. Participants who received prizes, performed on stage during the award ceremony.

-Is the competition held annually? How many children from how many countries took part  in the competition?

-Children from Germany, America, Australia, Japan, Korea and China participated in the competition. Children from different countries competed in different age categories. Other than contrabass, there are categories such as piano, string instrument, violin, violoncello and flute that children can participate in.

-How did you feel when you went on stage to perform? How did the audience and judges receive your performance?

-For the first time, a Mongolian representative participated in an international music festival in the upright bass violin and came in first place. The audience, especially the judges, were surprised to see me perform as female musicians rarely play contrabass.

-Did you bring your own instrument for the competition?

-I don’t have a contrabass. It’s a very expensive instrument. It costs around three million MNT. I only play the one in my school. When I went to the USA, I didn’t take the instrument with me. It’s very heavy. I rented the theater’s instrument when I went on stage to perform. It costs 70 USD to use it to perform just once.

-Have you performed at international competitions before?

-No. This was the very first time for me. In Mongolia, I participated in the music competition named after Chuluun two times. However, I was hardly able to make any achievements as it isn’t solely for contrabass. The competition is for violin, violoncello and contrabass.

-On stage, contrabass is commonly seen played by men. Why did you choose to play this instrument?

-When I played contrabass at the International Music Festival held in the USA, the audience and judges were surprised because I was a girl. In fact, I was learning dulcimer at the Mongolian Children’s Palace. In sixth grade, I auditioned for the Music and Dance College of Mongolia with dulcimer but the dulcimer class was full. Only classes for yatug (plucked zither) and shanz were available. I didn’t want to enter any of them and was contemplating on which class to choose when instructor L.Baasankhuu came and told me that I was suitable to play contrabass since I’m tall. He also said that it’s a very beautiful classical instrument and that I needed to think on a global level.

Most importantly, contrabass is played by tall people. The instructor gave me a week to think about the proposal. My mother advised me to choose on my own. This is how I first entered the contrabass class.

-Contrabass is a huge instrument. How did you feel when you first saw a contrabass?

-At first, I was frightened and a bit anxious. As time passed, I got used to it. It weighs approximately 10 kg.

-Are you able to lift the instrument with ease now?

-Of course. The main characteristic of contrabass is that it’s used for classical and jazz music. I’m glad that I chose this type of music.

-At the Music and Dance College of Mongolia, how many children are learning this musical instrument?

-You can start entering from sixth grade of general education schools. There are around ten children from six to eleventh grade. There are hardly any girls.

-Can you tell us about your family? Is there any member of your family that have artistic and musical background?

-I live with my grandparents and my older brother. My mother said that she wanted to become someone that works in the music sector when she was young but ended up with a different profession. She sings very well. My older brother is an actor. He participated in a TV talent show named “To be or not to be” of USB television and was one of the top ten participants. In 2008, my grandmother participated in the National Reciting Competition and became the Most Talented Person of Folk Arts. She recites stories for about four hours. The stories my grandmother recites isn’t just any ordinary tales. They are poetic stories that begin with the same letter or vowel. When listening to my grandmother reciting, she gives off a very pleasant feeling as if she’s singing a song.

-You are going to graduate this year. Will you continue to study contrabass and become a professional musician?

-I’m thinking of learning to sing. My mother advised that it’s better to study abroad. I will graduate from the Music and Dance College and learn to sing abroad. I’m interested in becoming a pop singer. My instructor on the other hand, advised me to become a classical or opera singer. He told me that all the best singers such as Celine Dion majored in opera singing.

-I wish you the best of luck on your goals.

-Thank you. By the way, children participating in foreign competitions pay for their own transportation expenses. I’d like to say thank you to my mother’s friends who supported me when I went to the USA to participate in the competition.


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Posted by on Mar 25 2014. Filed under Топ мэдээ. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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