Semi-finalists Announced & Development Prizes Awarded

Semi-finalists Announced

We are delighted to announce the 18 semi-finalists and eight alternates for the Michael Hill International Violin Competition 2015.

This superbly talented group of young violinists, listed below, who made it through the grueling selection process from a Competition record of 158 entries, will descend on New Zealand from all over the world.

Of the selection process, the Panel said, “We were hugely impressed with the aptitude and artistry shown in this Competition’s applications. Along with a record number of entries, we felt there was a higher number of extremely high quality entrants, which made our job very difficult and will make the job of the international jury, who judge the semi-finals and finals, even harder.
The 2015 Selection Panel (L-R): Vesa-Matti Leppänen, Andrew Beer, Dene Olding, Wilma Smith, Justine Cormack, with Sir Michael Hill
Of the semi-final list, Competition Executive Director, Anne Rodda said, “A near all-female line-up - amazing! Like the selection panel, I was surprised when the rankings were completed and to see only one male in the final 18. Female players have certainly proved their strength this time around. They are in very good company with Aaron Timothy Chooi, however, whose older brother Nikki won the 2013 competition.”

Congratulations to all semi-finalists and alternates. We very much look forward to welcoming you to New Zealand in June 2015. 

2015 Michael Hill International Violin Competition Semi-finalists (alphabetical)

  • Jung Min Choi, South Korea
  • Aaron Timothy Chooi, Canada
  • Anna Filochowska, Poland 
  • I-Jung Huang, Taiwan
  • Sanghee Ji, South Korea
  • Mimi Jung, USA
  • Suyeon Kang, Australia
  • Bomsori Kim, South Korea
  • YuEun Kim, South Korea
  • Marie-Christine Klettner, Austria
  • Eunae Koh, South Korea
  • Liya Petrova Konyarova, Bulgaria
  • Mari Lee, South Korea / Japan
  • Youjin Lee, South Korea
  • Ashley Park, USA
  • Elly Suh, South Korea
  • Yabing Tan, China
  • Natsumi Tsuboi, Japan/USA

Alternates (in order of selection)
  1. Christine Lim, South Korea/USA
  2. Ji-Yoon Lee, South Korea
  3. Yasuka Morizono, Japan
  4. Gi Yeon Yoon, South Korea
  5. Francisco Garcia Fullana, Spain
  6. Hwapyung Yoo, South Korea
  7. Wei Lu, China
  8. Dongfang Ouyang, China

Development Prizes Awarded

Congratulations also to the recipients of the New Zealand and Australian Development Prizes. 

For the 2015 competition, the New Zealand Development Prize has been awarded to Amalia Hall and the Australian Development Prize to Markiyan Melnychenko.

Amalia Hall is widely recognised as one of the foremost young violinists to emerge from New Zealand. She has received first Prize at the Postacchini International Violin Competition, second Prize at the International Violin Competition "Premio R. Lipizer", is a laureate of both the International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians and the Kloster Schöntal International Violin Competition, and is the recipient of numerous special prizes at these competitions. 

She has won all of the major awards in New Zealand, including the Gisborne International Music Competition at the age of 16, the National Concerto Competition, the National Young Performer of the Year, the Pettman/Royal Over-Seas League Arts Scholarship and the University of Auckland Concerto Competition.

Markiyan Melnychenko studies at the Eastman School of Music with Professor of Violin Oleh Krysa. In 2012, he graduated with High Distinction and a Performer's Certificate from Eastman's bachelor’s degree program and continues his studies undertaking a master’s degree.

Born in Lviv, Ukraine, Markiyan Melnychenko relocated to Australia with his family at age four. Melnychenko studied at the Australian National Academy of Music from 2006-2008, with Alice Waten and William Hennessy. 

Focus On: Helene Pohl, International Jury Member

Helene Pohl MNZM wears many hats, and every one she wears with magnificent style.

Not only is she the first violinist of the New Zealand String Quartet, Co-Artistic Director of the Adam New Zealand Festival of Chamber Music and Associate Professor of Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music, we are very lucky that, for the second time, Helene will return to the competition as one of our esteemed international jury members.
What’s the trick to choosing an international jury for a competition like this, in your opinion?  
Anne Rodda (Executive Director) and Dene Olding (Artistic Adviser) have done a great job of selecting a jury with different training backgrounds and current career paths – soloists, teachers, concertmasters – and ensemble players. What we all have in common is that we care deeply about music.

There are many elements you must consider in choosing the finalists and winner, of course, but what are some of the key attributes you’ll be looking for?
To move into the finals, the performers will need to show real artistry. This means they’ll need to have a very good command of the music in order to find, and deliver, its meaning. They’ll also need to communicate with an audience of all kinds. It’s one thing to showcase the music’s greatness, but it’s another ensure the audience really feels connected to its essential message, whether they are experienced listeners or not.

What are the most difficult elements of your role as juror? 
Keeping our concentration up is vitally important – we need to ensure we are listening with our hearts and giving each competitor our full attention. 

If you could give one piece of advice to the semi-finalists, what would it be?
It’s all about the music, not you. This is one of the most difficult lessons a performer must learn. Also, the biggest prize you can take away is the improvement you make preparing for the competition – and you’ve already won that one!

You must have a very busy schedule – what’s on your agenda between now and June?
I’m about to head off to Europe for a series of concerts. Then, come 29 January, the Adam Chamber Music Festival in Nelson opens. The event is a musical utopia for audiences who get to journey with us through great works of audible art – people holiday around it and it’s certainly a great way for us to start the season. Then, before June, I’ll tour with the Quartet around New Zealand and Australia, play a couple of concertos, and of course teaching – the new term starts in March.

Who inspires you?
My colleagues – we rehearse every day and consistently offer each other musical ideas.

What are you listening to at the moment?
Besides the inspirational performances of works we’re learning, there are always Feldenkrais lessons on there. Feldenkrais is a movement technique, which really helps me unwind from a big day’s playing. The other thing that’s on there at the moment is some Tai Chi classes I recorded. I’m a big fan!  

Put yourself in the Adam picture

The biennial Adam Chamber Music Festival has put the sunny city of Nelson on the map as the ‘Salzburg of the south’. The thirteenth festival (Jan 29 – Feb 7, 2015) features 17 concerts, with the New Zealand String Quartet (NZSQ) featuring in nine of them.

Helene Pohl shares the role of Artistic Director with NZSQ viola player Gillian Ansell. Together they draw on their contacts to put together unusual combinations of musicians in works that are rarely heard on the touring circuit. 

It's the excitement of hearing these newly formed ensembles that is a major draw-card of the Adam Festival. For example at Bach by Candlelight at the Nelson Cathedral, NZSQ is joined by the Ying Quartet from the USA, Australia’s Song Company, Douglas Mews (harpsichord), Joan Perarnau Garriga (double bass) and Robert Orr (oboe) in a programme that includes the motet Jesu Meine Freude and the lovely soprano aria from Mein glaeubiges Herze.

Add to the mix Nelson’s intimate, smaller venues, with their warm acoustics and the attractions of the region’s wine, arts and outdoors, and you can see why ticket sales are running hot. 

More information and bookings at

Thank You, Sponsors

As another Michael Hill International Violin Competition gets underway, we’d like to acknowledge our very generous sponsors, whose support we simply cannot do without.

There are many benefits to being a sponsor, so please contact Anne Rodda on if you’d like to get involved.
Judges’ Sponsors 
Michael Hill International
ANZ Bank
Wellington Airport
Kensington Swan Lawyers
Villa Maria Estate

Competitor Sponsors 
Vera and Denis Adam Foundation
David and Genevieve Becroft Foundation
Boyd and Clarke Foundation
Graham Family Foundation
Denver & Prue Olde
Jan and Don Spary
Peter Wilson & Gerda McGechan
The Wallace Foundation
Bill and Frances Bell
Peters MacGregor Capital Management
Competitor Sponsors (Cont.)
Over The Top
Party Plus
ODT/Allied Press

Prize Sponsors
John Boscawen & Jane Dyke
Geigenbau JG Leuthold
Janet & Russell Jones
Dame Jenny Gibbs

Stamford Plaza
Creative New Zealand
Kiri Nathan
Limosine Line
Queenstown Lakes District Council
Wilson Partners Ltd
Whitestone Cheese

Don't Forget...

All live rounds are open to the public – tickets will be on sale early 2015.

For more information, please visit, or view the Competition’s Facebook page.
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