After three gruelling rounds of beautiful music, the finalists who will compete to win the Michael Hill International Violin Competition 2017 have been announced.
Congratulations to Luke Hsu (USA), Ioana Cristina Goicea (Romania) and Benjamin Baker (NZ) who will battle it out for significant prizes and professional development on offer. Previous winners of the competition have gone on to have significant international careers as soloists, concert masters and first violinists.
In the final round on Saturday evening (10th June 2017), each competitor will play a concerto with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Giordano Bellincampi. Ioana Cristina Goicea will play Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D major, Benjamin Baker will play Brahms Concerto in D major and Luke Hsu will play Sibelius Concerto in D minor.
The three have been chosen from 16 quarter finalists, to six semi-finalists, and 140 applications before that in New Zealand's most prestigious music competition.
Here's a little bit about each of the finalists:
Started playing the violin: Three years old
Grew up in: Wellington (Khandallah)
Now lives in: London
How many practise/performance hours per week? It varies a lot. It’s never less than 2 or 3 hours, but on a heavy day, it could easily be 12 or 13 hours (but that’s a pace you can’t keep up for too long).
When he was a child, in Wellington, he decided he was going to start busking to sponsor a World Vision child $30 a month. He would busk on Lambton Quay (and he did make the $30 per month, apparently he had a very cute smile!).
Ioana Cristina Goicea
Started playing the violin at: Four years old
Grew up in: Bukarest
Now lives in: Hanover, Germany. Since she was 5 years old in Germany
How many practise/performance hours per week? Four hours a day, but it depends on how many concerts she has
Ioana's mother is violinist Cristina Anghelescu, a 1990 winner of the International Jean Sibelius competition. Ioana entered the MHIVC in 2013 and won fifth prize.
Started playing the violin: 4 years old
Grew up in: Houston, Texas
Now lives in: London
How many practise/performance hours per week? By day – aim for 5 – 7 hours a day
Apparently the first time Luke handled a violin he was so excited – he was ran around his family house with the violin in his hand yelling with excitement