The top three musicians to reach the final of the Michael Hill International Violin Competition were named last night (Thursday 9 June). They are Richard Lin (Taiwan/USA), Xiang Yu (China) and Sergey Malov (Russia).
The semi-finals follow a week of rounds in Queenstown and Auckland which has seen the competitors narrowed down from 18 to six and now to the final three. Over the past two days, each of the six semi-finalists has performed as part of a trio with acclaimed New Zealand pianist Michael Houstoun and cellist Ashley Brown.
Richard, Xiang and Sergey now prepare for the Finals on Saturday night – each performing a concerto with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra at the gala evening event.
For 22-year-old Xiang Yu, making it to the Finals came as a shock. "I didn't think I had done enough preparation, so making it to the Finals is a big surprise." Xiang's Finals performance will be of Prokofiev's Concerto No 2 in G minor.
At 27, Sergey Malov is the oldest of the competitors and this was likely to be his last contest. “I’m very happy to be one of the top three. Xiang and Richard are fantastic violinists with huge energy. I'm looking forward to the finals." Sergey will perform Bartok's second concerto in the Finals.
Richard Lin (19) said he was "very excited" to be in the Final. "This is my first big international competition and I didn't expect to be at this level." Richard has already won the award for best performance of the specially commissioned John Psathas' piece Gyftiko.
The Michael Hill International Violin Competition Final, with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, takes place on Saturday 11 June at 7.30pm at Auckland Town Hall, THE EDGE. An 'Insider's Guide' discussion with New Zealand violinist Justine Cormack from 6.30pm provides valuable insights into what the judges will be looking as they seek to select a winner.
Tickets for the Michael Hill International Violin Competition Final are available from the Aotea Centre box office, by phoning 0800 BUY TICKETS (842 538) or at www.buytickets.co.nz