2015 Keep Up With The Play

Keep Up With the Play on our Competition blog!

  • Congratulations to our 2015 Winner, Suyeon Kang

    Suyeon Kang from Australia has won the 2015 Michael Hill International Violin Competition.

    Kang (26) performed Sibelius Concerto in D minor with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in the final concerti of the prestigious competition at Auckland’s Town Hall tonight.

    She takes away NZ$40,000, a recording contract on the Atoll label, a personalised professional development programme, a bespoke gown from Kiri Nathan, and a Michael Hill gold and diamond pendant from Christine Hill’s Spirits Bay Collection, based on iconic New Zealand shell the Totorere. She will also return to New Zealand in 2016 for an intensive performance tour across the country, presented in partnership with Chamber Music NZ and the APO.

    South Korea’s Eunae Koh came second receiving $10,000 and Canada’s Timmy Chooi was placed third, for which he receives NZ$5,000. Both, along with Kang, performed with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in tonight’s finals. Koh also received the NZ$2,000 Chamber Music Prize as the top performer in Round Three.

    Fourth place was given to Japan’s Natsumi Tsuboi who receives NZ$3,000, South Korea’s Elly Suh placed fifth receiving NZ$2,000, and the sixth place-getter, Marie-Christine Klettner from Austria, receives NZ $1,000.

    The Competition drew to a close tonight after more than a week of intense competition during which 18 semi-finalists from around the world performed.

    The initial rounds I and II took place in Queenstown with pianists Diedre Irons and Sarah Watkins, from which six semi-finalists were selected to perform in round III – piano trios with cellist Ashley Brown and pianist Michael Houstoun – in Auckland.

    The winners were selected through secret ballot by the international jury which this year comprised Pierre Amoyal (France / Switzerland), Sergiu Schwartz (Romania), Young Uck Kim (South Korea), Joseph Lin (USA), Susie Park (Australia), Helene Pohl (New Zealand) and Benjamin Schmid (Austria).

    Semi-finalists travelled to New Zealand from South Korea, Canada, Poland, Taiwan, USA, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria and China.

    Suyeon Kang (2)

    Winner of the 2015 Michael Hill International Violin Competition, Suyeon Kang (Australia). Photo credit: Simon Darby.

  • Tonight we are looking forward to seeing the final three semi-finalists perform a piano trio with acclaimed New Zealand musicians Michael Houston (piano) and Ashley Brown (cello). If last night’s Round III Part I is anything to go by, live and live stream audiences are in for a real treat.

    Tonight’s schedule is below. At the end of the performance, the international jury will decide which three violinists will move forward to Saturday’s final concerti. We wish the very best to tonight’s performers.

    8.05 – 8.35pm
    Eunae Koh
    Beethoven: Trio in D major, Op 70, No 1 The Ghost

    8.40 – 9.10pm
    Elly Suh
    Beethoven: Trio in G major, Op 1, No 2

    [Interval – 20 minutes]

    9.30 – 10pm
    Suyeon Kang
    Beethoven: Trio in C minor, Op 1, No 3                   

  •  

    Today, masterclasses up the hill at the University of Auckland continued throughout the day and our three finalists got some quality studio time with renowned NZ photographer Simon Darby (Wanaka Photography)

    Suyeon Kang, photo by Simon Darby

    Suyeon Kang, photo by Simon Darby

    They also started their orchestral rehearsals with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Rumon Gamba.

  • 2015 Michael Hill International Violin Competition Finalists announced

    The judges for the 2015 Michael Hill International Violin Competition have tonight selected, via secret ballot, the three competitors who will move through to the final round, each performing a concerto with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO) at Auckland’s Town Hall this Saturday 13 June.

    They are, in order of the original draw: Timothy Chooi (Canada), Eunae Koh (South Korea) and Suyeon Kang (Australia).

    The finalists’ performance order on Saturday, based on their original draw numbers is:

    Timothy Chooi (Canada)
    Sibelius Concerto in D minor

    Eunae Koh (South Korea)
    Brahms Concerto in D major

    Suyeon Kang (Australia)
    Sibelius Concerto in D minor

    Round Three drew to a close tonight after two nights of piano trios which saw each of the top six semi-finalists perform with acclaimed musicians Michael Houstoun on piano and Ashley Brown on cello.

    Round Three followed three intense days and two rounds of competition in Queenstown, which saw the original 18 semi-finalists whittled down to six.

    The winner of the Michael Hill International Violin Competition will be announced following Saturday’s performance. They’ll take away NZ$40,000, a recording contract on the Atoll label, a personalised professional development programme, a bespoke gown from Kiri Nathan (female) or suit from Working Style (male), and a Michael Hill gold and diamond pendant from Christine Hill’s Spirits Bay Collection, based on iconic New Zealand shell the Totorere. The winner will also return to New Zealand in 2016 for an intensive performance tour across the country, presented in partnership with Chamber Music NZ and the APO.

    The second place-getter receives NZ$10,000 cash, third prize is NZ$5,000, fourth place NZ$3,000 cash, fifth place NZ$2,000 cash, and the sixth place-getter receives NZ $1,000 cash.

    Also announced on Saturday night will be the Chamber Music Prize, for the winner of Round 3 – a cash prize of NZ$2,000.

    Earlier in the week South Korea’s Jung Min Choi was announced the winner of the Best Performance of the New Zealand Work, a specially-commissioned violin solo by Kenneth Young titled Gone. She received NZ$2,000 cash.

    The Michael Hill International Violin Competition is New Zealand’s most prestigious music competition and recognised as one of the finest violin competitions in the world.

    Tickets for the final performance are still available via Ticketmaster. The entire 2015 event is also being live streamed here.

    The Michael Hill Audience Award is back for this Competition. Both live and online audience members are encouraged to vote for their favourite competitor either via the web site here or via text (4368 – NZ mobile only). The winner of the Michael Hill Audience Prize will be announced during the prize giving at Auckland’s Town Hall on 13 June.

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    The three finalists in the 2015 Michael Hill International Violin Competition [L-R: Suyeon Kang (Australia), Timothy Chooi (Canada), Eunae Koh (South Korea)]. The finals take place with the APO this Saturday 13 June at Auckland’s Town Hall. Photo credit: Simon Darby.

  • Round III continues tonight in the Auckland Town Hall Concert Chamber with Eunae Koh, Elly Suh and Suyeon Kang performing their Beethoven Trios.

    With the support of Creative New Zealand, masterclasses by competition judges are provided at all NZ tertiary music departments. The University of Auckland editions are presented in partnership with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and are structured for one university violinist or ensemble plus three competitors who were not involved in Round III.

    This week in Auckland the competitors thrived under the tutorship of Pierre Amoyal, Sergiu Schwartz, Joseph Lin, Young Uck Kim and Susie Park.  Helene Park worked with emerging teenage talent.  

  • www.theviolinchannel.com

    www.theviolinchannel.com

    It’s been great having The Violin Channel on the ground this week, in both Queenstown and Auckland. 

    Do make sure you visit the site and their Facebook page for tons of info, pics, and interviews with competitors and past winners. 

  • As well as the on-stage action, the Michael Hill International Violin Competition provides all semi-finalists and music students across the country with extensive learning opportunities. The Competition’s jam-packed masterclass and development programme has been turning little light bulbs on at across the country all week.  

    After a flight up the spine of the country to Auckland and getting acquainted with their Auckland host families the day prior, semi-finalists received a community outreach workshop from the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra’s Education team entitled “The Artist as Educator”, based on leading arts educator Eric Booth’s approach.  

    IMG_0264

    The violinists were then gently thrown off the deep end at a couple of Auckland area schools. An impromptu Vivaldi quartet at McClean’s College, sightread by Michael Hill violinists, was jaw-droppingly awesome and seriously inspirational for the students.

    Meanwhile, three of the six semi-finalists advanced to Round III got stuck into their Beethoven trio rehearsals and evening performances with Kiwi collaborating musicians Michael Houstoun (piano) and Ashley Brown (cello).

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  • EIGHTEEN BECOMES SIX IN THE 2015 MICHAEL HILL INTERNATIONAL
    VIOLIN COMPETITION
    Judges announce six semi-finalists who will move on to Round III in Auckland

    Eunae Koh + Marie-Christine Kletner + Natsumi Tsuboi +Sir Michael Hill +Timothy Chooi + Elly Suh + Suyeon Kang med res

    The judges for the 2015 Michael Hill International Violin Competition have selected, via secret ballot, the six competitors who will move through to the next round, Round III – piano trios, in Auckland.

    They are, in the order of the original draw: Marie-Christine Klettner (Austria), Natsumi Tsuboi (Japan/USA), Timothy Chooi (Canada), Eunae Koh (South Korea), Elly Suh (USA/South Korea) and Suyeon Kang (Australia).

    Rounds I and II drew to a close tonight after three days of intense competition during which the judges saw 18 semi-finalists from around the world.

    The initial rounds took place in Queenstown where the competitors each performed from the competition repertoire comprising solo works, salon pieces, selected movements from a choice of concerti and sonatas (with pianists Diedre Irons and Sarah Watkins), and a specially-commissioned work by New Zealand composer Kenneth Young, titled Gone.

    Round III will take place in Auckland’s Town Hall this Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11 June. The six semi-finalists will each perform a Beethoven piano trio with acclaimed New Zealand musicians cellist Ashley Brown and pianist Michael Houstoun. Tickets for Round III are still available via Ticketmaster.

    From there three finalists will be selected to perform concerti with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra on Saturday night, at the end of which the 2015 winner will be announced.

    Also announced tonight was the winner of the Best Performance of the New Zealand Work, Jung Min Choi. For winning this prize, Choi receives NZ$2,000 cash.

    The 2015 Winner takes away NZ$40,000, a recording contract on the Atoll label, a personalised professional development programme, a bespoke gown from Kiri Nathan (female) or suit from Working Style (male), and a Michael Hill gold and diamond pendant from Christine Hill’s Spirits Bay Collection, based on iconic New Zealand shell the Totorere. The winner will also return to New Zealand in 2016 for an intensive performance tour across the country, presented in partnership with Chamber Music NZ and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.

    The other prizes are as follows. Second Prize: NZ$10,000 cash, Third Prize: NZ$5,000 cash, Fourth Place: NZ$3,000 cash, Fifth Place: NZ$2,000 cash, Sixth Place: NZ $1,000 cash. There is also a Chamber Music Prize of NZ$2,000 cash for the winner of Round III.

    The 2015 international jury comprises Pierre Amoyal (France / Switzerland), Sergiu Schwartz (Romania), Young Uck Kim (South Korea), Joseph Lin (USA), Susie Park (Australia), Helene Pohl (New Zealand) and Benjamin Schmid (Austria).

    The Michael Hill International Violin Competition is New Zealand’s most prestigious music competition and recognised as one of the finest violin competitions in the world.

    The entire 2015 event is being live streamed here.

    The Michael Hill Audience Award is back for this Competition. Both live and online audience members are encouraged to vote for their favourite competitor either via the web site here or via text (4368 – NZ mobile only). The winner of the Michael Hill Audience Prize will be announced during the prize giving at Auckland’s Town Hall on 13 June.

    ENDS

    For more information, images and interviews, please contact Siobhan Waterhouse on +64 22 126 4149 or siobhan@mrfahrenheit.nz.

    Image attached (credit: Simon Darby) – The six semi-finalists moving on to Round III in the 2015 Michael Hill International Violin Competition, with Sir Michael Hill. [L-R: Eunae Koh, Marie-Christine Klettner, Natsumi Tsuboi, Timothy Chooi, Elly Suh, Suyeon Kang]

    ––

    ABOUT THE MICHAEL HILL INTERNATIONAL VIOLIN COMPETITION

    The Michael Hill International Violin Competition has been held biennially since 2001.

    It is New Zealand’s most prestigious music competition and recognised as one of the finest violin competitions in the world.

    The Michael Hill International Violin Competition aims to promote young violinists from all over the world who are launching their professional solo careers and are aspiring to establish themselves on the world stage.

    The competition recognises and encourages excellence and musical artistry, and expands the young violinists’ performance opportunities.

    All competition applicants are aged between 18-28 years old.

    The Michael Hill Violin Competition is a member of the World Federation of International Music Competitions (Geneva).

  • Glamorous Gowns

    Sun 7 June 2015

    The judges heard all the semi-finalists yesterday, over an intensive 12-hour period. One-by-one each competitor presented three solo pieces – Bach, Paganini and Tchaikovsky – and then a salon piece (see the full repertoire here).

    Chattering from the audience indicated the new salon pieces were charming little “gems”.

    While we can’t comment on the individual performances, that’s the judge’s job, we can say the competitors looked absolutely stunning.

    The female semi-finalists mirrored a fashion magazine spread, in an array of gorgeous gowns. China’s Yabing Tan was first up in eye-catching red. She was followed by South Korea’s Jung Min Choi who glittered in metallic champagne. USA’s Ashley Park and Japan/USA’s Natsumi Tsuboi dazzled in aquamarine, South Korea’s Youjin Lee’s paneled black and white gown wouldn’t be out of place in Vogue 1970 or 2015, and you couldn’t take your eyes off Christine Lim, also from South Korea, in her elegant, draping, wine-coloured gown.

    Standing tall as the sole male competitor, Timmy Chooi looked decidedly dashing, head-to-toe in black. It seems the Competition is a feast for the ears and eyes!

    Don’t forget – both live and online audience members are encouraged to vote for their favourite competitor either via the web site here or via text (4368 – NZ mobile only). The winner of the Michael Hill Audience Prize will be announced during the prize giving at Auckland’s Town Hall on 13 June. 

    For behind the scenes activity, images and video, the Competition’s Facebook page. We’ve also made the leap to Instagram! Follow us here.

    Until next time…

  • Let the Competition begin…

    Sat 6 June 2015

    Tessa-Petersen

    Tessa Petersen

    As this post goes live, applause is erupting for Competitor 1, China’s Yabing Tan, who has just completed her first round, solo works.

    Today the judges get to see all 18 competitors perform four pieces each – three solo works and one salon piece for violin and piano, selected from the Competition repertoire.

    It’s a day where the competitors’ virtuosity, personality and ability to interpret a piece are most exposed. Today will be hugely important in laying the foundations for the days ahead.

    At this morning’s Insiders’ Guide, William Evans Senior Lecturer in Violin from the University of Otago, Tessa Peterson, spoke about the salon genre – the history, tricks and challenges. She will continue this discussion at 12.45pm NZ time, so make sure you join us on the live stream.

    Tomorrow morning’s Insiders’ Guide (9am NZ time) will be with Martin Riseley, Head of Strings at NZ School of Music, who’ll be talking about composition and the creative process.

    Don’t forget – both live and online audience members are encouraged to vote for their favourite competitor either via the web site here or via text (4368 – NZ mobile only). The winner of the Michael Hill Audience Prize will be announced during the prize giving at Auckland’s Town Hall on 13 June.

    For behind the scenes activity, images and video, the Competition’s Facebook page. We’ve also made the leap to Instagram! Follow us here.

    More soon…

  • 2015 Competitors with Sir Michael Hill. Photo by Simon Darby.

    2015 Competition Round One Draw

    Fri 5 June 2015

    The Michael Hill International Violin Competition draw to determine the order of Competitor’s performances was conducted today by selecting names, at random, from a bucket.

    The semi-finalist order is:

    1. Yabing Tan, China
    2. Jung Min Choi, South Korea
    3. Ashley Park, USA
    4. Sanghee Ji, South Korea
    5. Christine Lim, South Korea
    6. Marie-Christine Klettner, Austria
    7. Mari Lee, South Korea / Japan
    8. Natsumi Tsuboi, Japan/USA
    9. Liya Petrova Konyarova, Bulgaria
    10. Aaron Timothy Chooi, Canada
    11. Ania Filochowska, Poland
    12. Youjin Lee, South Korea
    13. Eunae Koh, South Korea
    14. I-Jung Huang, Taiwan
    15. YuEun Kim, South Korea
    16. Elly Suh, USA/South Korea
    17. Mimi Jung, USA
    18. Suyeon Kang, Australia

    For performance times, please click here.

    The very best of luck to all the competitors.

  • Day 1 – Haere Mai, welcome to Queenstown!

    Fri 5 June 2015

    As the sun shines down on stunning, and perfectly crisp, Queenstown, the also-flawless sound of 2013 winner Nikki Chooi rehearsing with Sarah Watkins for his Welcome Back Winner performance tonight reverberates through the Queenstown Memorial Centre.

    It’s first day of activity at the 2015 Michael Hill International Violin Competition and while the competition won’t start until tomorrow, there is plenty going on.

    At 1pm NZ time today, the team from Radio NZ Upbeat will be broadcasting live. Interviewees include Sir Michael Hill, Nikki and Timmy Chooi, Susie Park, Joseph Lin and Young Uck Kim among others and there will be special performances by Nikki Chooi, Markiyan Melnychenko and Amalia Hall. For those not in New Zealand, the link to the live stream is here and info about the time difference can be found at www.timeandate.com.

    Tonight at 5.30pm a panel discussion with the international jury, called Violins and their Makers: Past and Present, will explore how much the instrument contributes to the success of a performance and what should young artists aim for when acquiring a violin.

    This is immediately followed by another free public session, The Old Masters and New World Makers in which NZ violin maker Dick Panting and European dealer Johannes Leuthold will discuss the merits and options of old vs modern instruments.

    At 8pm audiences will be delighted by Nikki Chooi who will perform his captivating Welcome Back Winner concert with Sarah Watkins on piano. Joining them will be the Development Prize Winners, Amalia Hall and Markiyan Melnychenko. The trio will perform on a variety of violins, old and new. Tickets are still available via Ticketek.

    In fact, there are still tickets available for most sessions in Queenstown and Auckland – head over to Ticketmaster (Auckland) and Ticketek (Queenstown).

    And don’t forget – both live and online audience members are encouraged to text-vote for their favourite competitor (NZ mobile only) at www.violincompetition.co.nz. The winner of the Michael Hill Audience Prize will be announced during the prize giving on 13 June.

    For more information, visit www.violincompetition.co.nz or view the Competition’s Facebook page. We’ve also made the leap to Instagram! Follow us!

    Back soon…