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Semi-finalists for violin competition

Media Release


15 December 2006

Semi-finalists for international violin competition announced

The 18 semi-finalists for the 2007 Michael Hill International Violin Competition have been selected.

From a field of over 100 applicants representing 25 different nationalities (including five applicants from New Zealand), the following musicians will be flown, at the Competition’s expense, to compete in the semi-finals in Queenstown from 2-4 June 2007.

Kinga Augustyn (Poland) Bella Hristova (Bulgaria)

Ray Chen (Australia) Ji Won Kim (Korea)

Jinjoo Cho (Korea) Amy Lee (USA)

Nikki Choo (Canada) Bo-Kyung Lee (Korea)

Can Gao (China) Eugene Nakamura (Canada)

Noah Geller (USA) Daniela Shtereva (Bulgaria)

Celeste Golden (USA) Yuuki Wong (Singapore)

Liana Gourdjia (Russia) ShanShan Yao (China)

Stefan Hempel (Germany) Yeo-Young Yoon (Korea)

The 18 semi-finalists were selected over three full days of assessment by New Zealand’s leading violinists: Miranda Adams, Dmitri Atanassov, Justine Cormack, Kevin Lefohn, Vesa-Matti Leppänen and Jan van den Berg.

Vesa-Matti Leppänen, Concertmaster of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, said “Overall, the level of playing varied, but at the same time it was almost impossible to rank the top players. The 18 semi-finalists selected are all wonderful young talents and I think the international judges will have a difficult job in choosing the prize winners.”

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“It’s a great cultural achievement to have such a high level competition in New Zealand,” he said, “and I’m thrilled that I had the opportunity to be part of it this time.”

Dimitri Atanassov, Concertmaster of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, agreed with Leppänen’s comments and added, “Of course it is a disappointment that no New Zealanders made it to the next round, because the talent is certainly there. This is no doubt a wake-up call to Kiwis that they need to take their preparation and presentation much more seriously if they wish to be considered amongst this calibre of competition.”

During the semi-final rounds contestants are required to perform works from the very challenging violin repertoire (including those of Bach, Paganini and Mozart) as well as Fanitullin, a five minute piece by leading New Zealand composer Ross Harris, commissioned by the Competition.

At the completion of the Queenstown semi-finals, the top six competitors perform full-length piano trios with the New Zealand Trio in Auckland on 6-7 June. From this round, three finalists are selected to compete in the final round, a concerto performance on Saturday 9 June in the Auckland Town Hall accompanied by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.

Prizes for the Michael Hill International Violin Competition are generous – first prize includes NZ$40,000, a CD recording for international distribution, and a Winner’s Tour of New Zealand in 2008. One semi-finalist will also be awarded a specially crafted violin by contemporary Italian violin maker, Riccardo Bergonzi.


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