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New Zealand’s most prestigious international music competition returns

31 May to 8 June 2019

The impressive list of competitors in New Zealand’s most prestigious international music competition, the Michael Hill International Violin Competition, has been announced for 2019.

From 31 May to 8 June 2019, sixteen 18 to 28-year-old violinists from across the world will go head-to-head in Queenstown then Auckland, for a prize package valued at over $100,000.


They are:

Jacqueline Audas (USA), whose previous acknowledgements include First Prize in both the 2018 North International Music Competition and the Mika Hasler Young Artist Competition 2015.

Rimma Benyumova (Russia) who received Laureate, Special Jury Prize at the Victor Tretyakov International Violin Competition 2018 and Second Prize at the Anton Rubinstein International Competition in Dusseldorf 2017.

Jevgēnijs Čepoveckis (Latvia) who took out Third Prize in the Louis Spohr Violin Competition 2013 and Second Prize David Oistrakh Violin Competition 2009.

Angela Sin Ying Chan (China) whose awards include First Prize and Best Concerto Prize at the Louis Spohr Violin Competition 2016 and Third Prize in the Andrea Postacchini Competition Junior Division in 2008.

Hannah Cho (USA) who received Third Prize in the 2018 Schadt String Competition, Third Prize in the Maurice Ravel Foundation Competition 2018, and Third Prize in the Alice & Eleonore Schoenfeld International String Competition 2016.

Mairéad Hickey (Ireland) who received Third Prize and Prize for the Best Interpretation of a Virtuoso Work in the Louis Spohr International Violin Competition and First Prize in the Jeunesses Musicales Violin Competition.

Do Gyung (Anna) Im (South Korea) who was a semi-finalist in the Victor Tretyakov International Violin Competition in 2018 and in the 2016 Menuhin International Violin Competition.

Shannon Lee (USA) who received Sixth Prize in the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis 2018 and First Prize in the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota National Competition in 2018.

Tianyu Liu (China) who took out Grand Prize in the Ronald Sachs International Music Competition 2018 and First Prize at the 2015 Cremona International Music Festival Competition.

Ashley Park (USA) who was a semi-finalist in the Washington International Competition 2018, won Second Prize in the Andrea Postacchini International Violin Competition 2016 and was a semi-finalist in the Schoenfeld International String Competition 2016.

Ji Won Song (South Korea) who received first Prize and Special Prize in the Isang Yun International Violin Competition 2017, and First Prize and Audience Prize in the Leopold Mozart Competition in Augsburg in 2016.

Eric Tsai (USA) who took out First Prize at the New York International Artists Violin Competition in 2014.

Sophie Wang (Taiwan) who received First Prize at the Concourso Andrea Postacchini in 2014, First Prize in the Louis Spohr International Violin Competition 2013, and First Prize in the Paul Hindemith International Violin Competition in Berlin 2011.

Harry Ward (Australia) who was a finalist in the ABC Young Performers Awards 2013, and won First Prize in the National Youth Concerto Competition in 2012.

Matthias Well (Germany) whose acknowledgements include First Prize in the Fanny Mendelssohn Preis 2017, Special Prize Wettbewerb um den Kulturkreis Gasteig 2016, and Second Prize in the Instrumentenwettbewerb der Hochschule München 2014.

Victoria Wong (Australia) who took out Third Prize at the International Arthur Grumiaux Competition for Young Violinists in 2018, First Prize at the XXV Violin Competition of the Ibolyka-Gyarfas-Foundation 2017, and Best interpretation of the compulsory work by Sören Nils Eichberg at the International Max Rostal Competition 2015.


Competition Executive Director, Anne Rodda, says, “The selection panel were hugely impressed by the high standard of entries this year. There is a growing number of international competitions for young violinists, yet the pool doesn’t seem to be getting diluted in any way. We are delighted so many of the world’s best young violinists can make it to New Zealand next year. And, because of New Zealand’s excellent reputation among international musicians, so are the competitors!”

The biennial Michael Hill International Violin Competition is one of the most sought-after violin prizes in the world. The careers of some of today’s classical music legends have been launched right here in New Zealand. 2019 is the tenth competition.

Rounds One and Two (Quarter-Finals) featuring solo and piano-accompanied works take place in Queenstown from 31 May to 3 June 2019. From there, six Semi-Finalists will be selected to head up to Auckland for Round Three, which takes place on 5 and 6 June at the Town Hall. Leading New Zealand musicians, drawn from the country’s top ensembles, will perform Mozart Quintets with the competitors.

The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra will accompany the three Finalists at the Grand Finale on Saturday 8 June, with Music Director Giordano Bellincampi conducting.

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 (please see notes below).

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 Lady, Christine 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.

All live rounds are open to the public. Tickets are available now as part of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra subscription season. Single tickets will be on sale in February.

The entire event is also live-streamed, with audio provided by Radio NZ Concert, on www.violincompetition.co.nz, YouTube and the world’s leading online classical music news source, The Violin Channel. In 2017 online activity exceeded one million views throughout the 10-day period, of which over 70 per cent were unique.

For more information, please visit www.violincompetition.co.nz, the Competition’s Facebook page or Youtube channel.

powerhouse companies Michael Hill International, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, ANZ Bank, Templar Family Office, Kensington Swan Lawyers, Bayleys and Villa Maria.

More info at www.violincompetition.co.nz

For media information, images and interviews, please contact Siobhan Waterhouse at Mr. Fahrenheit Publicity on +64 22 126 4149 or siobhan@mrfahrenheit.nz