3 Jun 2017

The Michael Hill International Violin Competition - A Quick Guide

From Michael Hill International Violin Competition, 10:00 am on 3 June 2017
Michael Hill International Violin Competition

The biennial Michael Hill International Violin Competition - one of New Zealand’s most prestigious music competitions and one of the most sought-after violin competitions in the world kicks off in Queenstown this Queen's Birthday weekend. Since its founding in 2001, the competition has been a platform for some of the world’s most successful contemporary violinists, teachers, concertmasters and ensemble players - including the recently appointed Concertmaster for New York’s Metropolitan Opera, Nikki Chooi, who won the 2013 competition.

The Prize

2013 Winner Nikki Chooi with Michael Hill

2013 Winner Nikki Chooi with Michael Hill Photo: RNZ Jeremy Brick

The winner of the competition receives NZ$40,000, a recording contract with the Atoll label, an intensive performance tour across New Zealand and Australia, and a personalised professional development programme. The winner is also invited to perform on Sir Michael Hill’s magnificent personal violin, a 1755 Guadagnini named “The Southern Star”, on their Winner’s Tour.

The Judges

Some of the world’s most celebrated classical musicians come to New Zealand to judge the competitors. The 2017 international jury comprises USA’s Pamela Frank, Ilya Gringolts from Russia/UK, South Korea’s Dong-Suk Kang, Finland/NZ’s Vesa-Matti Leppänen, Romania’s Silvia Marvovici, Dene Olding from Australia and Krzysztof Wegrzyn of Poland/Germany. The jury is chaired by Dr Robin Congreve.

You be the Judge

Live and online audience members can also be part of the judging process by voting for their favourite competitor for the Michael Hill Audience Prize. To vote, visit the online voting booth, found on the Michal Hill International Violin Competition website or text the unique code of your favourite competitor to 3323 (Standard text charges apply). The winner of the Michael Hill Audience Prize will be announced during prize giving at the Finals on 10 June 2017.

The event attracts live audiences of more than 7000 and its online performance views exceed 250,000 (including 26,000 live streaming). RNZ Concert will be live streaming the event here.

Check out the RNZ Concert facebook page and RNZ Concert twitter feed for the latest.

How it works

The Michael Hill International Violin Competition is made up of three rounds and the grand final.


Queenstown Photo: RNZ Jeremy Brick

Rounds 1 and 2 (the quarter-finals) are solo and unaccompanied works and take place in Queenstown's Memorial Centre from Saturday 3 June until Monday 5 June. The performers are accompanied by a pianist; either Sarah Watkins (NZTrio) or Jian Liu.

Round 3 The Semi-Finals are in Auckland on Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 June at the Town Hall. The competitors will Mozart String Quintets with cellist Ashley Brown, violinists Justine Cormack and Gillian Ansell and violist Julia Joyce..

The Grand Finale is on Saturday 10 June at Auckland Town Hall where the three finalists will perform a concerto with the full Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.

Guadagnini and Stradivarius

Guadagnini and Stradivarius Photo: RNZ Jeremy Brick

The Quarter-Finalist order for Round 1 and 2 is:

  1. Elizabeth Basoff-Darskaia (Female) – Russia / USA
  2. Jung Min Choi (Female) – South Korea
  3. Asako Fukuda (Female) – Japan
  4. So Young Choi (Female) – South Korea
  5. Galiya Zharova (Female) – Kazakhstan
  6. Momo Wong (Female) – Japan / USA
  7. Natsumi Tsuboi (Female) – Japan
  8. Sumina Studer (Female) – Switzerland
  9. Ioana Cristina Goicea (Female) – Romania
  10. Olga Šroubková (Female) – Czech Republic
  11. Yoo Min Seo (Female) – South Korea
  12. Jaeook Lee (Male) – South Korea
  13. Kunwha Lee (Female) – South Korea
  14. Benjamin Baker (Male) – New Zealand
  15. Luke Hsu (Male) – USA
  16. Mari Lee (Female) – South Korea / Japan

Six of these superbly talented young violinists will make it through to the semi finals which will be announced on Monday 5 June.

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