Haere Mai (Welcome)
Artistic Adviser, Michael Hill International Violin Competition
First violinist Goldner String Quartet and Australia Ensemble, Concertmaster Emeritus Sydney Symphony Orchestra
It is a dilemma that everyone who is asked to help plan and design a violin competition must face-how to create the proper conditions in which a panel of judges can accurately and fairly judge the merits of each contestant. And how can the design of this competition help them make a judgement that brings to the fore those young virtuosos that will thrive in the modern world of music?
The virtuoso of today and tomorrow must exhibit outstanding technical prowess, an individual artistry and be enlightened in their approach to all different musical styles. In addition, they must be completely at ease in all musical situations from concerto performance to chamber music. This competition strives to develop all these skills.
Personally, I find the word “competition” in this context a poor substitute for what actually this event is all about. It is about preserving the glorious heritage of the violin and giving the young proponents of this art an outlet for their talent. It is about them meeting and bonding with other competitors from all round the world and forging friendships that will last a lifetime. The musical stimulus from this interaction and exposure can not be underestimated.
It is also about fellow professional musicians and audience members marvelling at the skill of the competitors, the lively discourse on the virtues of each one’s musical and stylistic approaches, stage presence etc and the uniting of the entire musical community who focus on this international event for 10 days.
It is about many other things such as conquering those common human traits of self-doubt, fear and anxiety. It is about the immense satisfaction one feels when a difficulty is overcome or success is achieved.
It is also about overcoming adversity and even if not a prize winner, using that experience for the better in the future. All of these things can not be expressed by the single word “competition”.
Unfortunately though, in spite of my research, the English language does not seem to contain a term to describe all of these attributes and conditions. In the end, we will have to make do with this word as, after all, there has to be some form of ranking with an overall winner triumphant. The true worth of this event to each contestant is the countless hours of preparation, musical thought and self-discipline that cannot fail to propel these young violinists into a musical and personal realm that they otherwise might not have achieved.
The reputation of the Michael Hill International Violin Competition grows with each successive event and this can be measured by the quality of the past prize winners and their achievements, the distinguished judges that have served on the panel and the esteem in which it is held in musical circles. 2015 will surely add to this reputation and I would like to welcome the following outstanding violinists to the judging panel who will undertake the unenviable task in choosing this year’s winners. Together, they represent diverse nationalities, knowledge and experience but share the common goal of entrusting this outstanding art form to the next worthy caretakers.
Thanks to the dedicated staff at the competition, the generosity of Sir Michael and Lady Christine, the stewardship of the Board of Trustees and countless other supporters and donors, this competition held amidst the stunning natural beauty of New Zealand and featuring typical kiwi hospitality will offer everyone here an experience unlike anything else.
New Zealanders have always admired and encouraged an individual’s pursuit of excellence. The competitors in the Michael Hill International Violin Competition are all aspiring to great heights – hard work and trust in their abilities are required for their ascent to the top.
We aim to ensure our live and digital audiences find our world-class performances inspiring and accessible, not only during our intensive competition week, but in the years to come as we follow the career paths and cheer on all of our laureates since our inception. Mindful of the profound impact competitions can have on young artists, we provide enriching professional development for all of our competitors and can earnestly stand by our promise that they will be finer and more insightful artists for having participated. On the home front, our educational outreach programme across the country ensures Kiwis have the opportunity to learn directly from the masters and can be cognisant of what it takes to have a shot on the world stage.
From the panoramic natural backdrop of The Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu, to the care and generosity provided by host familes, we intend your voyage to New Zealand to be a rewarding experience, and will deliver on our promise that you will be a better violinist and a more insightful artist or audience member for having participated.
Sir Michael Hill KNZM
Welcome to the Michael Hill International Violin Competition. I wish you every success in your quest and I envy your opportunity. I have always had a love for the violin and my dream as a youth was to become a concert violinist. My life has taken a different direction, and now I am eager to foster young violinists’ talents by sponsoring an International Violin Competition. This tranquil alpine retreat is a wonderful place to play music. Good luck and may all your dreams become reality.
Rt. Hon. Helen Clark ONZ SSI
Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme
Former Prime Minister of New Zealand (1999-2008)
I have been proud to lend my support as Patron of the Michael Hill International Violin Competition for the past eight years. The development of this prestigious International Violin Competition has put New Zealand on the map as a nation which values musical excellence. The competition fosters emerging, young talent, both in New Zealand and worldwide. New Zealand’s music loving audiences are treated to top quality performances by the young violinists. My thanks go to Michael and Christine Hill and all the other sponsors, for making it possible to hold this prestigious competition in New Zealand.
Sir James Wallace KNZM
It is an honour to be a Patron of this exceptional international event and to know the importance it has for New Zealand and the global music community. Over a number of decades I have proudly supported emerging New Zealand talent, and the opportunities this Competition presents for our up-and-coming musicians to recognise how high the international bar is set, and to provide tangible pathways to achieve success, is invaluable.