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New Zealand’s Elite Young Musicians Compete For 56th National Concerto Competition Title

On Saturday 9 March, Christchurch audiences can look forward to not one but three exhilarating concerto performances, as New Zealand’s top young orchestral musicians compete to win the 2023/24 National Concerto Competition, accompanied by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and conductor Benjamin Northey.

The competition, which is in its 56th year, is one of New Zealand’s most prestigious and oldest music competitions for musicians 25 years and under.

Each of the finalists successfully navigated grueling preliminary rounds in late 2023, under the watchful eye and finely tuned ears of adjudicators and acclaimed musicians Donald Armstrong, Debbie Rawson and Josephine Vains.

For 2023/24 the finalists confirmed to perform on Saturday 9 March will be:

Hazuki Katsukawa of Auckland – Violin

Peter Gjelsten of Wellington – Violin

Ben van Leuven of Lower Hutt – Clarinet

These young artists will be competing in the hope of winning the lion’s share of a total prize package valued at more than $17,500. A win that not only brings great kudos to their name but will also play a vital role in helping to fund further training internationally as they embark on professional careers.

Past winners are a veritable list of New Zealand’s most influential classical musicians, such as Michael Houstoun (1971), Mark Menzies (1986), Hamish McKeich (1988), Ashley Brown (1994), Henry Wong Doe (1995), Natalia Lomeiko (2000), Benjamin Morrison (2004) and Amalia Hall (2006).

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In addition to the three performances from this year’s gifted finalists, audiences will enjoy a special extra performance by 12-year-old Auckland cellist Ryan Yeh. Ryan was given the special award of ‘Most Promising Player’ following his outstanding efforts in the competition’s preliminary round. Ryan will perform Martinu’s ‘Slovakian Variations for Cello & Piano’ while the adjudicators are deliberating over the final competition results.

© Scoop Media

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