After an exciting week of competitive performances the New Zealand based competition draws to a close
After an exciting week of competitive performances the New Zealand based competition draws to a close.
The 24-year-old violinist Feng Ning has won the Michael Hill International Violin Competition held in Auckland, New Zealand. Ning played the Brahms Violin concerto after battling out with runners up Yvonne Lam and Bartosz Woroch of Poland. The finalists were accompanied by the Auckland Philharmonia conducted by American conductor Christopher Wilkins.
Feng Ning, who's performance impressed not only the judges but also the entire audience and his 17 fellow competitors who gave him a standing ovation, received his prize from Michael and Christine Hill and congratulations from Prime Minister Helen Clark. First prize includes NZ$40,000, a CD recording contract for worldwide distribution, a winner's tour of New Zealand in 2006 under the management of the Auckland Philharmonia, and a Rado Superjubile watch.
Second Prize went to 24-year-old Yvonne Lam; Third Prize to 20 year old Bartosz Woroch. The Merit Award, for the best performance of David Farquhar's composition 'Earth, air, water' a piece specially commissioned for the competition, was won by Andrew Wan of Canada. Honourable Awards were won by Andrew Wan (Fourth Prize), Liana Gourdjia of Russia (Fifth Prize), and Wen-Lei Gu of China (Sixth Prize). Yvonne Lam was also awarded the use of the Riccardo Bergonzi violin for the next two years.
The 2005 competition jury, chaired by Dr Robin Congreve, was internationally representative and included: Pierre Amoyal (France), Justine Cormack (New Zealand), Dong-Suk Kang (Korea), Paul Kantor (USA), Mark Kaplan (USA), Dene Olding (Australia), and Krzysztof Wegrzyn (Poland/Germany).
Juror Paul Kantor, himself a great violinist and currently Distinguished Professor of Violin at the Curtis Institute of Music, said: "All of the judges felt that the competition was a wonderful demonstration of artistry, accomplishment and devotion to the musicians' chosen art. Of all the gifted musicians we have seen over the past week, Feng Ning was clearly a standout, and I think he has every possibility of having a very successful and important career."
Leading up to the finals has been an intense week of competition for the 18 semi-finalists, all of whom were flown to Auckland for the finals. From a field of nearly 100 applicants representing 27 different countries, 18 violinists were selected to compete in the first two solo and piano-accompanied rounds of the semi-finals, held in Queenstown from Saturday 4 to Monday 6 June. At the completion of these rounds, the jury selected the top six violinists to go through to Round III of the competition, a chamber music round held in Auckland on Wednesday 8 and Thursday 9 June. Each of the six violinists was required to perform a Trio with Ashley Brown (cello) and Sarah Watkins (piano) of the New Zealand Trio. From this round, the jury chose the three finalists.
Plans are already afoot for the fourth Michael Hill International Violin Competition, which is scheduled to begin at Queen's Birthday weekend, 2007.