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Michael Hill International Violin Competition applications are now open.  18 Semi-finalists will be flown to New Zealand to compete for a prize package valued at $100,000.

The 2015 Michael Hill International Violin Competition is open to violinists aged 18-28 years and takes place in Queenstown and Auckland from 5-13 June 2015.

The International Jury consists of virtuoso violinist Pierre Amoyal (France/Switzerland), performer and violin professor Young Uck Kim (South Korea), inaugural Michael Hill winner and first violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet Joseph Lin (USA), New Zealand String Quartet first violinist Helene Pohl, Russian violinist and pedagogue Boris Garlitsky, soloist Benjamin Schmid (Austria) and Adelaide Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Natsuko Yoshimoto (Japan).

The winner receives $40,000 cash, a recording on the Atoll label, a personalised professional development programme, a 2016 winner's tour with Chamber Music New Zealand and further performances with the Competition’s presenting partners such as the Harris Theater in Chicago and Musica Viva Australia.

2013 Winner, Nikki Chooi (Canada).  Photo credit Simon Darby

Information about the Competition

Held in New Zealand every two years since 2001, this prestigious competition attracts entries from top violinists around the world. The 2013 Competition was won by Canadian violinist Nikki Chooi and past winners also include Joseph Lin, Ning Feng, Natalia Lomeiko, Josef Špaček, Bella Hristova and Sergey Malov.

The 2015 Competition takes place in Queenstown and Auckland beginning with two rounds of solo and piano-accompanied works and including a specially commissioned work by New Zealand composer Kenneth Young. New for 2015 is a requirement for competitors to perform a concertmaster solo.

Competition Executive Director Anne Rodda said that a concertmaster solo is not usual among major competitions, but this innovation "reflects the recognition that numerous Michael Hill competitors now hold positions as concertmasters in renowned orchestras such as Montreal, Melbourne, Bamberg and the Czech Philharmonic." Charming encore pieces have also been added to the repertoire for the initial rounds which will further enable competitors to demonstrate their artistry and personality. 

The top six violinists from the first two rounds progress to an all-Beethoven piano trio round, with the top three competing at the Grand Final performing a concerto accompanied by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.  All semi-finalists are encouraged to take advantage of the Competition's professional development offerings.

Further details on the 2015 Michael Hill International Violin Competition and full application information can be found at

The deadline for applications is Tuesday 25 November 5pm (NZ time).

The entries are assessed by a selection panel of New Zealand and Australia’s leading violinists –  Vesa-Matti Leppänan, Andrew Beer, Justine Cormack, Wilma Smith, and Dene Olding, the Competition's Artistic Adviser.

Two Development Prizes are also awarded – one each for a New Zealand and Australian violinist. These are given to the highest ranked New Zealand and Australian violinists who do not make the semi-finals and these two musicians attend the Competition in New Zealand as part of their professional development.

The selected 18 semi-finalists and Development Prize winner will be announced in December 2015.

The Michael Hill International Violin Competition has recently invested in the development of a new website which now includes a section profiling all of the almost 130 past competitors over the past years. "As far as I know we're the only competition to provide the breadth of background on all our competitors – not just the prizewinners," Ms Rodda said. "It's been so interesting to research and reconnect with all the artists and see the incredible heights they've gained in their careers."

The Michael Hill International Violin Competition is also proud to announce that Kensington Swan Lawyers will be joining the event’s sustaining major partners; Michael Hill International, ANZ, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Villa Maria.
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