Michael Hill International Violin Competition 2017 Semi-Finalists Announced

The six semi-finalists selected by the judges to move through to Round III in the 2017 the Michael Hill International Violin Competition were announced at Queenstown Memorial Centre tonight.

From 16 quarter finalists, and 140 applications before that, the following six will move on to the next round – Mozart String Quintets – which takes place at the Auckland Town Hall Concert Chamber on Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 June.

They are outlined below, in their performance order.

  1. Sumina Studer – Switzerland
  2. Ioana Cristina Goicea – Romania
  3. Olga Šroubková – Czech Republic
  4. Kunwha Lee – South Korea
  5. Benjamin Baker – New Zealand
  6. Luke Hsu – USA

International juror, violinist and Chair of the Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists, Pamela Frank says, “I haven’t been to the Michael Hill since 2009 and am astounded at how much the calibre of the artists has grown in that time. The talent in the room over the last four days in Queenstown has been immense; it’s made our job extremely difficult.

“The six semi-finalists have been selected because they interpreted the selected works in a way we believe stood out.

“I particularly love the new Ad Libitum section, in which competitors perform a work of their own choice and are required to verbally introduce it to the audience and express why they selected it. It’s not something I’ve seen at any other string competition. In this section, as well as artistry, we were looking for competitors who proved to be the ‘whole package’, because musical insight and communication skills are essential to having a rewarding career these days,” Frank says.

Also awarded this evening was the prize for Best Performance of New Zealand Commissioned Work, Karlo Margetić's On An Imaginary Folk Song, for which the winner, Olga Šroubková, receives NZ$2,000.

For the semi-finals, competitors will perform Mozart quintets with highly regarded New Zealand musicians, Ashley Brown on cello, Justine Cormack on violin, and Gillian Ansell and Julia Joyce on viola.

At the end of the second night of semi-finals, the three finalists will be announced. In the Grand Final on Saturday 10 June at Auckland Town Hall, each finalist will perform a concerto with the full Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Giordano Bellincampi.

The Michael Hill International Violin Competition is New Zealand’s most prestigious music competition and one of the finest violin competitions in the world.

The Competition has been a platform for some of the world’s most successful contemporary soloists, teachers, concertmasters and ensemble players in the world.

The winner of the Michael Hill receives NZ$40,000, a recording contract with the Atoll label, an intensive performance tour across New Zealand and Australia, a Michael Hill Spirits Bay pendant designed by Christine, Lady Hill, and a personalised professional development programme. The winner is also invited to perform on Sir Michael Hill’s magnificent personal violin, a 1755 Guadagnini named “The Southern Star”, on their Winner’s Tour, and will receive a gown by Kiri Nathan (women) or suit by Working Style (men) for their tour.

All live rounds are open to the public. Tickets for the Auckland rounds are on sale through Ticketmaster.

The event is being streamed on www.violincompetition.co.nz.

The 2015 event attracted live audiences of more than 7000 and its online performance views exceed 250,000 (including 26,000 live streaming).

Live and online audience members are encouraged to vote for their favourite competitor for the Michael Hill Audience Prize. Please visit the online voting booth on www.violincompetition.co.nz or text the unique code of your favourite competitor to 3323 (codes are at www.violincompetition.co.nz. Standard text charges apply).

The winner of the Michael Hill Audience Prize will be announced during prize giving at the Finals on 10 June.

For more information including the full performance schedule, please visit www.violincompetition.co.nz or the Competition’s Facebook page.

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