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New Zealand’s Michael Hill Violin Competition Semi-Finalists Announced

All rounds of this year’s event are being streamed LIVE here on The Violin Channel and are available at all times for playback

The six competitors progressing through to the Semi-Final stage of the 2023 Michael Hill International Violin Competition have today been announced, in Queenstown, New Zealand.


This year's six semi-finalists are:

Yeyeong Jenny Jin (20, South Korea/United States)

Gabrielle Despres (22, Canada/United States)

Eva Rabchevska (26, Ukraine/Germany)

Claire Wells (22, United States/Germany)

Aoi Saito (25, Japan/Germany)

Lorenz Karls (21, Sweden/Austria)


The $2000 NZD prize for the best performance of the newly-commissioned work by New Zealand composer Michael Norris, was awarded to Julia Mirzoev from Canada.

As is tradition, the competition will now relocate to Auckland, in New Zealand's north island, for its Semi-Final and Grand Final stages.

All rounds of this year’s event are being streamed LIVE here on The Violin Channel.


For the Semi-Final stage, to be held at the Auckland Town Hall on the evenings of the 7th and 8th of June, each of the six candidates will now lead, in its entirety, one of four selected Mozart Quintets. The ensemble’s collaborative artists will be violinist Amalia Hall, violist Gillian Ansell and Robert Ashworth and cellist Ashley Brown.

Three candidates will then be selected to progress to this year’s Final round, on June 10th, and will perform a major violin concerto with conductor Andrew Litton and the Auckland Philharmonia.


The 16 international candidates are competing, over these 10 days in both Queenstown and Auckland, for a $40,000 NZ cash prize, a recording contract with the Atoll label, a multi-city winners tour with Chamber Music New Zealand and the three-year loan of a fine violin courtesy of Rare Violins of New York.

This year's jury is made up of Hon Christopher Finlayson (Chairperson), violinists Bella Hristova, Ning Feng, Natalia Lomeiko, Wilma Smith, James Ehnes, Anthony Marwood and international pianist Piers Lane.

The Michael Hill International Violin Competition has been the springboard for the careers of many internationally acclaimed soloists, teachers, concertmasters, and ensemble players, including Joseph Lin, Ning Feng and Natalia Lomeiko and VC Artists Nikki and Timothy Chooi, Sergey Malov, Josef Spaček and Bella Hristova.

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