Media release
Tuesday, 20 December 2022


New Zealand’s globally regarded Michael Hill International Violin Competition, supported by the Hill Family Foundation for Arts and Music, returns in June 2023 and entries for the 11th event have broken all previous records, with 160 young violinists from across the word vying for one of the coveted 16 quarter-finalists spots.

Violin and classical music lovers haven’t been able to experience the thrilling, formerly biennial and now triennial event since 2019. Considered an ‘Olympics of the violin world’, 16 of the very best 18- to 28-year-old violinists from all over the world battle it out in Queenstown and then Auckland. Their goal is to be selected by the prestigious international judging panel as the top three to perform in the judged grand final concert with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra at Auckland’s Town Hall on 10 June, and then win the coveted prize that will launch their career.

The winner of the Michael Hill receives NZ$40,000, a recording contract with the Atoll label, and a multi-centre Winners Tour with Chamber Music New Zealand. Also up for grabs is a special prize of a three-year loan of a fine violin by Rare Violins of New York.

The 2023 quarterfinalists are (alphabetical order, country of origin/country of residence):

Jiayi Chen, 26 – China/Austria

Gabrielle Després, 22 – Canada/USA

Kingston Ho, 21 – USA

Seonglan Hong, 21 – South Korea

Yeyeong Jin, 19 – South Korea/USA

Lorenz Karls, 21 – Sweden/Austria

Tianyu Liu, 23 – China/USA

Julia Mirzoev, 26 – Canada

Audrey Park, 20 – USA

Eva Rabchevska, 26 – Ukraine/Germany

Aoi Saito, 25 – Japan/Germany

Hani Song, 25 – Switzerland/Germany

Karen Su, 24 – USA/Belgium

Yuri Tanaka, 17 – Japan/Germany

Ayaka Uchio, 25 – Japan/Germany

Claire Wells, 21 – USA/Germany

“The selection panel of five wonderful violinists – Andrew Beer, Bella Hristova, Wilma Smith, Robin Wilson and Vesa-Matti Leppänen – worked extremely hard, carefully assessing all of the applicants’ videos. It took them a full five days arrive at an outcome,” says Anne Rodda, Executive Director.

“A really obvious development in this generation of high-performance violinists is their awareness of the changes in the industry and the expectation of young musicians that they embrace a multi-faceted and self-initiated career pathway. Heartening is the number that genuinely want to serve their communities and work in non-traditional settings to reach new audiences.”

Selection Panelist and APO Concertmaster Andrew Beer says, “This is my fourth time being a part of the selection panel for the MHIVC and we’ve never seen so many strong applicants. The future of violin playing is bright and this June’s competition is going to be phenomenal.”

The prestigious international judging panel in 2023 includes a who’s-who line-up. In addition to past Competition winners, Bulgarian-American violinist Bella Hristova (2007); Chinese Ning Feng (2005); and Russian born, Kiwi raised Natalia Lomeiko (2003); Wilma Smith (NZ/AU) and pianist Piers Lane (UK) will be joined by legends James Ehnes (Canada) and Anthony Marwood (UK).

The Michael Hill has been a platform for some of the world’s most successful contemporary soloists, teachers, concertmasters and ensemble players in the world, including Joseph Lin, Josef Spaček, Nikki and Timothy Chooi, Ning Feng, Sergey Malov, Ray Chen from his early days, and the 2019 Winner Anna Im.

Tickets will be on sale from February through Ticketmaster in Auckland and Eventfinda in Queenstown, but astute concertgoers who want to ensure their seats, can book the Auckland rounds earlier, through the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and Chamber Music NZ’s season subscriptions.

The event is made possible with the generosity of the Hill Family Foundation for Arts and Music, and major supporters Michael Hill International, Craigs Investment Partners and Chiron Group.

For more information, please visit or the Competition’s Facebook page.


For media information, images and interviews, please contact Siobhan Waterhouse on +64 22 126 4149,