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New Zealander Wins Competition

New Zealander Wins Competition

Russian-born New Zealand citizen, Natalia Lomeiko, is the winner of the 2003 Michael Hill International Violin Competition. Last night, in a near capacity Auckland Town Hall, she and two other finalists each performed a Violin Concerto (chosen from a selection of ten), accompanied by the Auckland Philharmonia conducted by the orchestra’s Music Director Miguel Harth-Bedoya.

Second Prize went to Kristian Winther of Australia; Third Prize to Korbinian Altenberger of Germany. The Merit Award, for the best performance of John Rimmer’s The Dance of the Sibyl, a piece specially commissioned for the competition, was won by Yvonne Lam of the US. Honourable Awards were won by Yvonne Lam (Fourth Prize), Alexandra Osborne of Australia (Fifth Prize), and Shanshan Yao of China (Sixth Prize).

Natalia Lomeiko was obviously delighted with the result. “I’ve been working very hard for this,” she said, “so it’s very exciting and I feel very happy. And what a great prize,” she added. First prize is NZ$40,000 in cash, a CD recording contract on the Naxos label for worldwide distribution, a winner’s tour of Australia and New Zealand in 2004, and a diamond and jade pendant.

Born in Russia, Natalia Lomeiko, now 24, moved with her family to Christchurch in 1996. Since that time she has made her mark on the New Zealand music scene, winning the Gisborne Music Competition and the New Zealand Concerto Competition, and in 2000 being awarded Young Musician of the Year. Natalia has also established herself on the international stage. She has been a top prize winner in many prestigious international violin competitions including the Menuhin (England) – President’s Prize; Stradivari (Italy) – Third Prize; Tchaikovsky (Russia) – Sixth Prize; and Paganini (Italy) – First Prize and the Gold Medal. Since débuting with the Novosibirsk Symphony at the age of seven, Natalia has performed as soloist with such orchestras as the Royal Philharmonic under Yehudi Menuhin, the Philharmonia, the Singapore Symphony, New Zealand Symphony, Tokyo Royal Philharmonic and Nice Philharmonic. She has toured extensively as a soloist and chamber musician in Great Britain, Europe, Finland, Russia, Poland, the US, South America, Singapore, Japan and New Zealand.

Natalia has studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School, Royal College of Music and Royal Academy of Music in England.

The aim of the (biennial) Michael Hill International Violin Competition is to recognise and encourage excellence and musical artistry, to expand performance opportunities (including playing New Zealand repertoire), and to promote young violinists from all over the world who are on the brink of launching their professional solo careers and are aspiring to establish themselves on the world stage.

Michael Hill, a keen violinist himself, is the major sponsor of the competition. At the completion of the inaugural competition in 2001 he pledged his support of the Michael Hill International Violin Competition in perpetuity through his family trust.

The 2003 competition jury, chaired by arts philanthropist James Wallace, was internationally representative and included Pierre Amoyal (France), Justine Cormack (New Zealand), Miguel Harth-Bedoya (Peru/USA), Simon Morris (United Kingdom), Takako Nishizaki (Japan/Hong Kong), Dene Olding (Australia), and Chad Smith (USA).

Pierre Amoyal, one of the greatest violinists of his generation, and also a member of the 2001 competition jury, was very positive about the competition. “An extraordinary, unique thing has been created in New Zealand for these young musicians,” he said. “The energy and passion from Michael [Hill], the Auckland Philharmonia and the people of New Zealand makes for a very positive atmosphere and experience.”

Having successfully completed two competitions adhering to strict criteria, the organisers of the Michael Hill International Violin Competition will now apply for membership of the prestigious World Federation of International Music Competitions.

The third Michael Hill International Violin Competition is scheduled for Queen’s Birthday weekend, 2005.

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