Resending due to a correction in the Pierre Amoyal interview, with sincere apologies to Pierre and our newsletter recipients.
New Supporting Partner
We are delighted to announce a new strategic relationship with the Queenstown Resort College (QRC), who will join our family of sponsors this year.  

QRC is a unique tertiary education institution and one of New Zealand’s leading providers of hospitality and adventure tourism management.

Queenstown is widely regarded as a tourism magnet, which makes an ideal setting for QRC - not only do the students get to study in paradise, with a stunning campus that opens on to the beautiful Queenstown Gardens, but they are able to learn from some of the industry’s best teachers and leaders.   

This is where the smart alignment with the Competition comes in. Our team will be contributing to QRC’s event management course and, in turn, QRC’s students will be fulfilling a number of ushering and catering roles for Rounds I and II at Queenstown Memorial Hall.  

This is a very practical, learning-on-the-job, experience, which helps us out enormously and gives the students real life training at one of NZ’s most important cultural events. Win-Win!
The stunning surrounds of the Queenstown Resort College

Meet the 2015 Competitors
From 158 applicants, representing 28 countries, 20 of the world’s finest young violinists will be brought to New Zealand in June.

Here, you can get familiar with the 18 semi-finalists and Development Prize-winners for the 2015 Competition and, at the same, time have a sneaky look at the repertoire they’ll be playing in the Competition. 

Focus on: Pierre Amoyal, International Juror
It is with great pleasure that we welcome back to the international jury, six years since he was last with us, performer, teacher, popular jurist, and someone we believe is one of the nicest artists in the business, Pierre Amoyal.

Amoyal is well known to classical music lovers. He has played with the greatest conductors and orchestras in the most prestigious concert halls of the world.
His career started when he was only twelve years old and he completed his studies at the Paris Conservatory with a First Prize. At just 22, he made his European debut with the late Sir Georg Solti and the Orchestre de Paris, followed by appearances in all of the major European capitals, as well as in the USA, Canada, Mexico, South America and in the Far East.
He is now a University Professor in Violin at the Mozarteum in Salzburg.
Amoyal shared with us his experience of the Competition.
Tell us about your first experience with the Michael Hill International Violin Competition
I was part of the very first jury and, for me, coming to NZ was like the discovery of a new world. I couldn’t imagine the beauty, even in my dreams.
I remember very fondly the warm welcome we all got in Queenstown - to get off a long airplane trip and be received so generously was incredible and will always remain in my memories.
That first time for the Competition was very fresh and new. It could be risky being a part of something from the start that didn’t succeed. It is wonderful to see how well it has grown and developed. I chose the right horse!
What are you looking forward to about being on the jury for this Competition?
I look forward to having the same wonderful feelings and seeing old friends again, like Michael Hill – I’m sure he’s doing very well with all his energy and enthusiasm for life. I hope we can find time to do some fitness together.
I’m also looking forward to having Joseph Lin (our winner that first year) now sitting next to me on the international jury.
What do you think will have changed since the first Competition?
Over these years, techniques have grown. I expect that the level of playing will be as high as it can be in our world today.
How would you compare this Competition to others, in your opinion?
This Competition is a little different. I honestly think that we artists play differently in the pure, beautiful and generous surroundings in NZ. We are inspired by our surroundings - we don’t play the same way in New Zealand as we would in Europe.  
What is your strategy as a juror?
We will judge these violinists with our heads and our hearts.

Tickets now on sale
All live rounds of the Michael Hill International Violin Competition are open to the public.

Queenstown events are now on sale through Ticketek and Auckland tickets are available through TicketMaster.
For more information about the various sessions, please visit

Dressed for success

Kiri Nathan is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s leading designers of ready-to-wear couture, bespoke bridal and evening gowns, and traditional accessories. Together with her pounamu (greenstone) designer and carver husband, Jason,the Kiri Nathan label is a reflection of Māori and European heritage.

We are extremely lucky to have Kiri as one of our Competition Prize Sponsors, alongside men’s outfitters Working Style. What this means is, if the 2015 winner is a female (of which there is a 94 per cent chance!), they will have the honour of wearing a made-to-measure Kiri Nathan gown for their Winner’s Tour in June 2016.

We had a chat to Kiri about her work, her role and meeting Beyoncé.

You are one of the Competition’s Prize Sponsors - what does that mean?
As prize sponsor I will design and make a made-to-measure gown for the winner of this year’s competition to tour in, if they are female. With 17 female contestants, it’s a pretty high chance I’ll be designing a dress!

It is a privilege to be a sponsor of the Michael Hill International Violin Competition. I have the greatest respect for family business success stories - Sir Michael and Lady Christine are inspirational New Zealanders. It is also always wonderful to support the arts.
How do you approach a gown design for a violinist? What do you need to consider? What are the challenges?
The challenge in designing a gown that is elegant, dramatic and modern, with a New Zealand aesthetic, is of course the restriction around where the violin sits on the body and the type of movement that is required through the arms, shoulders and head.
The violinist needs to feel 100 percent secure in her gown, no matter how vigorous her upper body movement. I would be quite hesitant in creating a strapless option, for example.
You work in the arts in other ways as well. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Over the years I have worked a lot with dancers, particularly. Much like violinists, this means I need to design pieces catered to their movement requirements, while still respecting the dancer’s aesthetic and emotional responses.
Recently I have been working on a collaboration with my husband Jason, David K Shields (photographer) and Astley Nathan (documentary maker) on a photographic exhibition called He Kákano Ahau (“I am a seed”). It has been a three-year journey. My component is designing and weaving the kákahu (clothing) and styling the shoots.  We have been invited to exhibit this photographic exhibition, with installations of weaving and pounamu, at Colette Gallery in Paris.
You met Beyoncé last year - tell us about that!
Jason carves authentic New Zealand pounamu. These exquisite taonga (sacred, treasured heirloom) offer a spiritual connection to our country and are a representation of the belief system behind the Kiri Nathan label.

When Beyoncé toured to Aotearoa last year, we designed her a contemporary, woven korowai (feathered cloak), kouma pounamu (breastplate) and toki pounamu (pendant), and were lucky enough to be able to personally place the items on her. We also gifted a toki (adze), cut from the same stone, for her baby girl Blue Ivy to keep them connected to each other and also to Aotearoa New Zealand.

Love, actually

We’d love to share with you the stunning new ad campaign by Michael Hill Jeweller, We’re for Love.
This is an exciting new creative direction for the company, which was set up by the Violin Competition’s Founder Sir Michael Hill in Whangarei, New Zealand, in 1979.
We’re for Love uses beautiful, poignant and thought-provoking stories of real love, told by the people behind them, to encourage people to think about the nature of love.
The creation of the campaign involved talking to over 1,200 real people on the streets of New York. Out of those 30 selected to appear in the campaign, only one was from New York. They were asked about their experiences in love and, “What would you do for love?”
These real people, expressing real love, in whatever form that may take, have been included in the campaign. It is designed to engage and provoke emotional responses, set against a backdrop of beautiful imagery and music. 


Musica Viva Festival returns

The Musica Viva Festival returns to the Sydney Conservatorium of Music from April 9-12, with four days of unmissable events.
Guests can experience seven unique concerts with extraordinary international and local artists, including 2007 Michael Hill International Violin Competition winner Bella Hristova, legendary cellist Mischa Maisky, the Doric and Paval Haas String Quartets, Karin Schaupp and Narek Arutyunia.
The Festival also includes workshops, an Italian violin exhibition, a French bow exhibition, artist talks, a film festival, family mornings for the kids and more - the Musica Viva Festival offers every imaginable level of connection to the complete chamber music experience.
Tickets are selling fast – make sure you don’t miss out! Book Now or call 1800 688 482.

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