After four intense days performing everything from Bach to Paganini, six young violinists have been chosen to compete in the 2019 Michael Hill International Violin Competition semi-finals.
Robin Congreve representing the international jury named the semi-finalists as Jevgēnijs Čepoveckis (Latvia), Hannah Cho (USA), Do Gyung (Anna) Im (South Korea), Eric Tsai (USA), Victoria Wong (Australia), Angela Sin Ying Chan (Hong Kong).
The award for best performance of the commissioned piece - 'Chatoyance' by New Zealand composer Lyell Cresswell went to Harry Ward (Australia).
Lyell thanked the Michael Hill competition on behalf of all New Zealand composers for making a New Zealand work an essential part of the competition, saying "It's an unique opportunity for us, and for the nurturing and creation of New Zealand music - we appreciate this deeply".
He also thanked all the performers for putting so much work into learning his piece. He knew it was a difficult piece but remarked that the contestants now know the piece better than he does. Despite such precise and difficult notation Lyell was amazed by the 16 very different interpretations and admitted being "very moved" by hearing them.
These six semi-finalists will fly to Auckland for Round Three, which takes place on 5 and 6 June at the Town Hall. After just 90 minutes of rehearsal they'll perform Mozart quintets with leading New Zealand musicians.
The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra will accompany the three finalists at the Grand Finale on Saturday 8 June, with Music Director Giordano Bellincampi conducting a concerto of their choice from a given list.
As well as establishing the careers of some of today’s most renowned violinists, the “Michael Hill” is acknowledged for its superstar judging panel. Every year, Queenstown and Auckland play host to some of the world’s greatest violin soloists and teachers. This year's panel includes Grammy Award-winning James Ehnes, esteemed teacher Mauricio Fuks and former 'Michael Hill' winner Ning Feng.
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 personalised professional development programme, a Spirit Bay pendant designed by Christine, Lady Hill and a tour outfit by either Kiri Nathan or Working Style.
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.