To be held from June 2–10, 2023, New Zealand’s Michael Hill International Violin Competition (MHIVC) announced this year’s quarterfinalists, after receiving a record-breaking 160 applications.
Often seen as the “Olympics of the violin world,” the competition will see 16 of the very best violinists compete for top prizes before a prestigious international judging panel.
The quarterfinalists are (in alphabetical order):
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
Open to violinists aged between 18 to 26 from across the globe, the MHIVC will now occur every three years instead of biennially.
Another change includes a New Zealand-commissioned work, that will be performed by candidates with a static digital recording — a first for the event.
The top three finalists will perform in the grand final concert with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra at Auckland’s Town Hall on June 10, 2023 — in line to receive coveted prizes that will launch their music careers.
First place involves a $40,000 (NZ) cash prize, a recording contract with the Atoll label, and a multi-center Winners Tour with Chamber Music New Zealand in 2024. Among the event’s awards also includes a three-year loan of a fine violin by Rare Violins of New York.
The jury will comprise Bella Hristova, Ning Feng, Natalia Lomeiko, Wilma Smith, Piers Lane, James Ehnes, and Anthony Marwood — along with past MHIVC winners.
“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,” said 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,“ she added. „Heartening is the number that genuinely want to serve their communities and work in non-traditional settings to reach new audiences.”
MHIVC has been the springboard for the careers of many internationally acclaimed soloists, teachers, concertmasters, and ensemble players, including Joseph Lin, Josef Spaček, Ning Feng, Anna Im, Benjamin Baker — plus VC Artists Nikki and Timothy Chooi, and Sergey Malov.