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Teenager Ziyu He Wins Menuhin Violin Prize

Teenage violinist Ziyu He has won the prestigious Menuhin prize at a ceremony in London’s Royal Festival Hall.

The 16 year old from China was the only male finalist in a field of 22.

He received a first prize of £10,000, plus a one-year loan of the Antonio Stradivari’s Schneiderhan violin, dating from 1715.

The junior leg was won by Yesong Sophie Lee, aged 12, from the US. Both winners got to perform with the Philharmonia Orchestra at a gala concert on Sunday.

Yesong Sophie Lee
Yesong Sophie Lee made her concert debut at the age of eight

The biennial Menuhin Competition has established the careers of many of the world’s most renowned players, including Ray Chen, Tasmin Little and Julia Fischer – all of whom sat on this year’s jury.

Musicians accumulate years of performing experience before entering the contest, despite their young age.

Ziyu began studying the violin at the age of five under the guidance of Professor Xiangrong Zhang in China, and previously won the Eurovision Young Musician contest, representing Austria, where he studies at the University Mozarteum and Leopord Mozart Institute.

Lee made her solo debut with the Seattle Symphony when she was eight years old and has gone on to perform with many orchestras.

Her prize totalled £5,000, plus the one-year loan of a Guarneri del Gesu violin.

Both of the winners will now be catapulted into the classical music stratosphere, playing at several major music festivals over the coming year, including performances with the Konzerthaus Orchestra at the Menuhin Homage in Berlin and a UK tour in July 2016.

The winner of the audience vote, German teenager SongHa Choi, will perform live on Tuesday’s edition of BBC Radio 3’s In Tune, from 1630 BST.

The competition was founded by virtuoso violinist Yehudi Menuhin in 1983. This year’s contest marked the 100th anniversary of his birth.

By MARK SAVAGE Apr. 18, 2016 on BBC News

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