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With Talent, Humility and Support of Family, Brazilian Violinist Returns to Menuhin Competition 

Guido Sant’anna is a fourteen-year old junior competitor in Menuhin Competition Richmond 2021.
Guido Sant’anna is a 14-year old junior competitor in Menuhin Competition Richmond 2021. From São Paulo, Brazil, Sant’Anna started on the violin at five years old and gave his orchestral debut when he was seven. Photo courtesy of Guido Sant’Anna. 

Music in my life opened doors to a lot of possibilities. I made a lot of new friends through music. And that itself changed me as a person.

In 2018, when Guido Sant’Anna was 12 years old, he boarded a plane and traveled to Geneva, Switzerland where he was a junior competitor in the Menuhin Competition. He was the first Brasilian to do so in more than three decades. Sant’Anna came in sixth in the junior category and was given the Arte Concert online prize, which the virtual audience awards to their favorite performer. Also, thanks to the generosity of his host family, he was able to see snow for the first time in his life. 

In April, 2018, 12-year-old Guido Sant’Anna was in Switzerland for the Menuhin Competition
In April, 2018, 12-year-old Guido Sant’Anna was in Switzerland for the Menuhin Competition. His host family took the young Brazilian to the Swiss Alps where he got to experience snow for the first time. Photo courtesy of Guido Sant’Anna.

When Sant’Anna started on the violin along with his two brothers at the age of five, he didn’t have access to a proper instrument and teachers weren’t taking on young students. An older brother who had some instruction at school would share what he learned with his siblings and his mother would do whatever she could to help as well. Sometimes she had to improvise. 

“My mother would go to YouTube and the internet and just search how to play violin, and she just helped me and my other brother,” said Sant’Anna. 

 Sant’Anna’s mother eventually found someone who would teach him and his brother for free. The lessons were fifteen minutes long. “They were bad lessons,” said Sant’Anna. “But yeah, they were the beginning of something.”

Today, Sant’Anna has access to good instructors, a scholarship pays for housing near his school and he has been able to travel abroad to attend the Perlman Music Program and the Menuhin Competition. While Sant’Anna is proud of his accomplishments and grateful for the opportunities he has received, he doesn’t see himself as unique. 

“It's not that I'm better than everyone else,” Sant’Anna said. “There's a lot of great, talented musicians in Latin America that could be there. The only problem is they didn’t have the circumstances to be there.” 

Guido Sant’anna will be a junior competitor in Menuhin Competition Richmond 2021.

Credits: Henrique Polak at Central Drummers Escola de Musica & Estudio in Sao Paolo recorded Guido Sant’Anna’s interview and performance. Felipe Leitao served as interpreter. The episode was produced by Shawn Evans, Managing Producer Peter Solomon and Executive Producer Catherine Komp. If you liked what you heard, please rate and review Making Menuhin in your favorite podcast player.