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19.5.09

Queen Elisabeth Competition Down to 12

The race to crown a successor to Sergey Khachatryan, who won the first prize at the 2005 violin edition of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, is in its final phase. The Belgian favorite, Lorenzo Gatto, who returned to the competition for a second time this year, and the American Noah Bendix-Balgley are among the 12 finalists in the 2009 violin competition. Also featured on the list of finalists, who will all perform in the final round at the Palais des Beaux-Arts with the National Orchestra of Belgium under conductor Gilbert Varga from May 25 to 30, is the 21-year-old Korean Kim Suyoen, who also impressed the critic of La Libre Belgique. You can view the other finalists here.

Nicolas Blanmont wonders if the competition could not be restructured to make the semi-finals less a boring display of virtuosity, which of course a winning candidate must have demonstrated, but only as one of many qualities. In the final round, all candidates receive one week to study and prepare a new and entirely unknown violin concerto, which they will then each perform with the orchestra in turn. No pressure or anything.

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