Established two decades ago by entrepreneur and passionate violinist, New Zealander Sir Michael Hill, the Michael Hill International Violin competition is seated at the top table of global, classical music competitions.

It is New Zealand’s most prestigious classical music competition and arguably one of its key iconic events of the calendar.

Closely nurtured by a Board of ardent arts lovers, the biennial “Michael Hill” carefully selects international and leading local luminaries to guide brilliant young talent through competition, intensive master classes and career development.  Young violinists emerge enriched, their music advanced and skills broadened.

A combination of exceptional technical prowess and outstanding artistry are the twin cornerstones of a professional violin career in the twenty-first century.  The era we live in demands even more from young artists: communications expertise and the charisma and perseverance to cut through the saturated market.

The Michael Hill International Violin Competition takes the young musician and delivers a more rounded performer and prepared individual onto an appreciative, relentless international stage.

The competition continues to uphold the principles of integrity and authenticity in all its operations.  It also upholds the principle of genuine cultivation of talent in all its facets

Competitors, age 18-28 come from all over the globe:  in 2017 drawn from 140 applications from 30 countries.

The Michael Hill International Violin competition provides travel and accommodation for the quarter- finalists, encouraging robust competition and the chance of a lifetime – to perform beautiful music against the backdrop of one of the most beautiful countries on earth.

Competitors stay with caring, kiwi families in Queenstown (South Island) and then Auckland (North Island).  They experience manaakitanga – the unique New Zealand version of hospitality that places a visitor’s wellbeing first.

Career development including masterclasses, workshops and community outreach further extend the competition experience.

For audiences, the Michael Hill International Violin competition is spine tingling and sublime.  The Competition’s performances and subsequent Winner’s Tour is enjoyed by over 7000 attendances during its biennial cycle.  Concerts are held in outstanding concert halls, such as the historic Auckland Town Hall.

Beyond this, over 1 million around the world experience the performances live through broadcast and live streaming.

Audiences can hear today’s most thrilling performers’ “put it all on the line” – displaying their individual passion, originality and skill, side by side, one after the other, as they vie for the prize that will launch their career.


Michael Hill winners will

  • Display the highest level of artistry and prowess
  • Possess intelligence, charisma and a personality suited to the demands of the professional musical world
  • Exhibit unique personal and musical qualities which will allow their talent to shine through in a crowded market
  • Be versatile and adaptable to a wide range of musical situations and styles
  • Possess the ability, stamina, and perseverance to sustain a long and meaningful career

We believe

  • Win or not, the value of participating in competitions is the hard graft the musicians put into their preparation to be at their absolute peak. The intensity they encounter through the rounds is unparalleled in any other environment.
  • Young artists have a variety of career options and platforms available and, as evidenced by the varied career paths of our past winners, we honour and support whichever direction their vocation and opportunities take them.
  • In this competitive and technologically complex market in which our winners will find themselves, it has become evident that the artist must recognise and embrace the need to be a skilled performer and communicator as well as a fine musician.

Mission Statement:

The Michael Hill International Violin Competition aims to recognise and celebrate excellence, distinctiveness and musical artistry.
We encourage talented young violinists from all over the world who are on the verge of launching themselves on the world stage and empower them with the necessary skills to broaden their career opportunities.

We take pride in New Zealand Aotearoa’s cultural offerings and showcase our finest artistic talents.

Hosting a major event and inviting the world’s celebrated violinists, we are raising the awareness of fine music and the standards of musical performance that richly impacts the next layer of talent in New Zealand.