Friday 16 January 2015


Dues to work commitments, I was able to only attend three sessions in the semi-finals of the Singapore International Violin Competition, held in the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory on 14-16 January. Having heard six of the twelve semi-finalists, I was amazed at the stunningly high standards of playing. There was little to separate each of the artists. as he or she had something relevant to say in their hour-long programme, which included a Beethoven sonata, a romantic or 20th century sonata, a virtuoso show-piece and the competition's set-piece, kilo by Singaporean Emily Koh.

Millions of dollars worth of Rin Collection violins
sit proudly in the Conservatory foyer.

Anna Lee (South Korea) opened the semi-final stage
with a show of confidence. 
Fedor Rudin (France) was his usual cool self,
performing without a hint of nerves.
Sirena Huang (USA) had the chutzpah of performing
Emily Koh's murderously difficult and atonal
kilo from memory, a stupendous feat.
Alexandra Conunova (Moldova) was an Amazonian
presence, who impressed with the rarely heard
Francis Poulenc Violin Sonata.
Chairperson of the competition jury Qian Zhou
(in blue and white floral dress) mingling with the audience.
Singaporean violinist David Loke, member of the YST
Conservatory Orchestra, tries out a Strad by
playing sections of Glazunov's Violin Concerto.
Home town favourite and only Singaporean left in the
competition, Loh Jun Hong, gave masterly performances
of Brahms' Violin Sonata No.2 and Wieniawski's
Faust Fantasy, partnered by Abigail Sin. 

A violinist who caught my attention was Chisa Kitagawa
who is only 17-years-old but performs like a
mature and seasoned veteran. Her take on
Ysaye's Sonata No.6 was stunning and simply fearless.

The six finalists chosen by the 9-member jury were as follows (in order of performance):

Fedor Rudin (France)
Sirena Huang (USA)
Alexandra Conunova (Moldova)
Yu-Chien Tseng (Taiwan)
Richard Lin (Taiwan) and
Hyun Jae Lim (South Korea)

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