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Beautiful music in the most beautiful place on earth!
Audiences across Aotearoa, New Zealand welcomed the return of the Michael Hill International Violin Competition over the first 10 days of June 2023.
16 outstanding young violinists, selected by audition from an initial 160 applicants, travelled to Queenstown and Auckland and were wholeheartedly embraced by local audiences who journeyed with them through the highs and lows that come with a competition of this calibre.
The Michael Hill remains a favourite on the competition circuit, not just for its prestigious prize package, esteemed judging panel and career-launching opportunities, but also for the warmth and heart that greets every competitor from the moment they touch down in Aotearoa. For the rest of their careers, these artists will be connected to this place and can count on the support of the people they have met over the course of their stay. The term whānau means ‘extended family group’ in Te Reo (the Māori language) and all of the competitors and judges now join our treasured whānau.
So much more than a violin competition, the Michael Hill enables music-making opportunities to spill out across the community leaving a lasting impact on our local music scene. The introduction of the Fellowship programme in 2023 saw six exceptionally talented Kiwi violinists become part of the Michael Hill experience, observing every stage of the competition, learning from visiting jury members and workshopping and performing with many of the competitors. Firm friendships were formed that will help guide these young Kiwi musicians as they step onto the international stage in pursuit of their own performance careers.
In other community connections the opening Queenstown sessions saw engagements with local schools, retirement villages and even a performance at the popular LUMA light festival. The final leg of the competition in Auckland stepped things up several notches with the inaugural Auckland String Sessions. Music lovers young and old could connect with our judging panel of world-renowned soloists for workshops, masterclasses and to exchange ideas and learnings with our own industry leaders such as the New Zealand String Quartet. 60 violinists from pre-school to university age embraced the Auckland String Sessions programme, welcoming the chance to immerse themselves in music-making with our international guests.
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