It's been a year since the 2008 ARD Competition (reviews & reports here). And tonight the ARD Music Competition 2009--Voice, Harp, Violin, & Double Bass--began with the first round of double bassists getting under way at Studio 1 of the Bavarian Broadcasting building. I began my 18-day competition marathon by taking it easy and listening only to half a dozen of the 13 musicians on display. Those six performances indicated a fairly low standard, but from that low level two artists stood out all the more impressively: Ha Young Jung from Korea and Olivier Thiery from France. More of that later, as I will report from every day of the competition here, starting tomorrow evening.