Canadian Violinist Wins Michael Hill International Violin Competition

Monday, 10 June 2013
Nikki Chooi performing in the 2013 MHIVC finals

Canadian Nikki Chooi has won the 2013 Michael Hill International Violin Competition.

Nikki (24) performed the Sibelius Concerto in D minor with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in the Grand Final of the prestigious competition on Saturday 8 June 2013.

Earlier in the week Nikki was awarded the also won the Best Performance of the New Zealand Commissioned Work ‘Caravan’ by Jack Body.

Sarah Christian (Germany) came second and also won the Chamber Music Prize, while Boson Mo from Canada was third. New Zealander Natalie Lin won the Audience Prize.

“I feel amazing – words can’t describe how I feel ... it’s a dream come true.” Nikki was one of the 18 semi-finalists in the 2007 Competition. “I was so inspired by the competitors in 2007, but I really wasn’t sure how I would go a second time. I prepared well and just tried to be myself.”

As his prize, Nikki wins NZ$40,000, a recording with Atoll, a tailored suit from Working Style and a winner’s tour in 2014 with Chamber Music New Zealand, and performances with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Harris Theater in Chicago and Musica Viva in Australia.

The Competition drew to a close following a week of intense competition during which 18 semi-finalists from around the world performed in the initial rounds in Queenstown with pianists Diedre Irons and Sarah Watkins, before the top six semi-finalists performed piano trios with Ashley Brown and Michael Houstoun in Round III in Auckland, and then the final three were selected for tonight’s Grand Final.

The Competition has had excellent audiences in Queenstown and at Auckland Town Hall with violinist Justine Cormack providing Insider Guides before each of the rounds. This year, for the first time, it has has been live streamed over the Internet with more than 18,000 views to date.

The winners are selected by secret ballot by the international jury – Helene Pohl (NZ), Dmitry Sitkovetsky (UK), Christian Altenburger (Austria), James Ehnes (Canada), Ida Kavafian (Armenian/USA), Dene Olding (Australia) and Ning Feng (China).

The Michael Hill International Violin Competition has been held biennially since 2001.