With the 2015 Michael Hill International Violin Competition entering its final stages in Auckland, VC recently caught up with a number of former prize winners, to get a better understanding of their time in New Zealand – and the opportunities the biennial event has since presented.
Former 1st Prize winner, VC ‘Artist’ Bella Hristova guest blogs about her 2007 experience.
"I will always remember winning the 2007 Michael Hill International Violin Competition as one of the truly memorable experiences of my career.
From the moment I landed in New Zealand, I felt as if I had come back to a home that I didn’t know existed before.
It’s true what everyone says about New Zealand’s unique and spectacular beauty, but for me the strongest impressions will remain with the people I met there – some of whom have stayed good friends ever since.
I was lucky to have host families who were incredibly warm and hospitable. The Bells family, in Queenstown lived in a beautiful home overlooking the Lake Hayes – and the quiet serenity of the water was one of the perfect antidotes to struggling through jet lag (ginger beer and flat whites were some others!)
At the competition, I felt good about the first two rounds and was thrilled to advance to the trio round.
For the final round, all three of us finalists chose to play the Brahms Concerto (though I was alone choosing the Heifetz cadenza.) I felt fortunate that everything clicked that night.
My nerves finally caught up with me when they were announcing the prizewinners.
When second prize was called and I realized that I was the only one left, a wave of relief and happiness washed over me.
That night was one of the highlights of my life, made even more special by the adventure of the 2008 winners’ tour where I was granted the unforgettable opportunity to perform concerts all across New Zealand."