Dear <<First Name>>,
MEDIA RELEASE: Monday 3 June 2013
New Zealand violinist Natalie Lin is among the top six semi-finalists in the 2013 Michael Hill International Violin Competition.
Eighteen violinists from around the world have performed in the gruelling initial rounds of competition in Queenstown over the past three days. The six semi-finalists who go through to the next round in Auckland are (in no particular order): Nikki Chooi (Canada), Sarah Christian (Germany), Ioana Cristina Goicea (Romania), Wonyoung Jung (South Korea), Natalie Lin (New Zealand) and Boson Mo (Canada).
(L to R) Nikki Chooi, Ioana Cristina Goicea, Sir Michael, Sarah Christian, Wonyoung Jung, Boson Mo & Natalie Lin. Photo credits: Simon Darby.
“I’m completely shocked and overwhelmed,” admitted Natalie, blinking back tears. “I really never expected to be here with these incredibly talented musicians.”
Sold-out audiences attended the first two rounds in Queenstown and this year, for the first time, the competition has been live streamed over the Internet with more than 10,000 views over the three days.
The international jury – Helene Pohl (NZ), Dmitry Sitkovetsky (UK), Christian Altenburger (Austria), James Ehnes (Canada), Ida Kavafian (Armenian/USA), Dene Olding (Australia) and Ning Feng (China) voted by secret ballot to determine the top six competitors who now compete in the chamber music round of the Competition in Auckland on Wednesday and Thursday.
“It’s been a fantastic competition,” said Sir Michael Hill. “There’s an incredible buzz here and to have a New Zealander among the top six is just fantastic.”
Natalie’s Christchurch-based grandparents were in the audience to see her perform and hear the announcement tonight. “It was such a last minute decision for them to come to the competition and I am so glad they were here. It’s going to be wonderful to play in Auckland with my parents in the audience. I’ve just had such amazing support.”
Natalie is only the second first New Zealander to make the top six in the Competition – the first was Natalia Lomeiko in 2003, who went on to win it.
Also announced tonight was Nikki Chooi as the winner of the $2,000 award for best performance of the specially-commissioned work Caravan by New Zealand composer Jack Body.
“It was a long journey for me since receiving the music in April and all the research was worth it.”
In Round III on Wednesday and Thursday nights, the six semi-finalists each perform a piano trio with Ashley Brown (cello) and Michael Houstoun (piano). Three finalists will then advance to the Grand Final, each performing a concerto with Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra on Saturday 8 June at Auckland Town Hall.
The Michael Hill International Violin Competition has been held biennially since 2001. The winner receives NZ$40,000, a recording through Atoll, and a winner’s tour in 2013 with Chamber Music New Zealand, and performances with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Harris Theater in Chicago and Musica Viva in Australia and a custom-designed gown from Kiri Nathan or tailored suit by Working Style. Sixth through second prizes receive NZ$1000 to NZ$10,000. Additional prizes include an award for Best Chamber Music player of NZ$2000, and text and online voting determines the winner of the Michael Hill Audience Prize.
Tickets for the Michael Hill International Violin Competition chamber music rounds on Wednesday 5 and Thursday 6 June, and the Grand Final on Saturday 8 June, at Auckland Town Hall are available from the Aotea Centre Box Office, by phoning 0800 BUY TICKETS (289 842) or online at www.buytickets.co.nz