06:01AM, Thursday 21 March 2013
A trio of talented young violinists from around the world have made it through to the final of the fourth biennial Windsor Festival International String Competition.
Benjamin Baker, Yuka Ishizuka and Marisol Lee competed in front of a sell-out audience and an international jury last night which consisted of distinguished musicians Erich Gruenberg (violinist), Paul Silverthorne (violist) and Thomas Demega (cellist).
The judges saw eight talented semi-finalists who beat hundreds of applicants from every corner or the globe to take part in the competition.
The final will take place tomorrow in Windsor Castle’s Waterloo Chamber at 7.30pm (by gracious permission of HM The Queen), where David Whelton (Managing Director, Philharmonia Orchestra), Alexander Van Ingen (Executive Producer Decca) and Martin Denny (Festival Director) will join the jury.
Benjamin Baker from New Zealand first picked up a violin at just three-years-old. Four years later he had notched up seven television appearances in New Zealand and played with the celebrated Nigel Kennedy who recommended he apply to join The Yehudi Menuhin School in London.
He has already released his first solo CD, Arcadian Strings, which won the Classic FM Next Big Thing Award.
Yuka Ishizuka from Japan has performed as recitalist at major venues including Wigmore Hall London, Bridgewater Hall Manchester, Suntory Hall (Blue Rose) in Tokyo, Kings Place London, Fairfield Halls and Steinway Hall.
She is a recipient of numerous awards and prizes
Marisol Lee from Korea, started playing violin at the age of five.
She attended Seoul Arts High School where she was top of the class, was awarded the Music Award, and subsequently attended Seoul National University in the String Department.
She has won many competitions including first prize in the Jungang Music Competition, third prize in the Busan Music Competition, first prize in teh Ehwa Competition and the top prize in the Youth Seoul Music Competition to name a few.
The foremost competition of its kind in the world,the WFISC for violinists, violists and cellists aged between 16 and 26 years, is a prestigious competition where the top prize includes a concerto performance with associate orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, on September 27 in the Waterloo Chamber of Windsor Castle, conducted by Nicholas Collon.
The winner will also receive a cash prize of £5,000, a fine contemporary bow to the value of £5,000 sponsored by Bishop Instruments and Bows, a minimum of two recitals including a concert in Sir William Walton’s home La Mortella, Ischia and a solo recording opportunity with Champs Hill Records.
Martin Denny, Director of Windsor Festival said: "Yesterday’s semi-finals were a huge success.
"We were delighted by the supreme high standard of each performance and the support and encouragement which so many people from the local community gave to all the semi-finalists.
"We are very much looking forward to the final taking place tomorrow.”
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