Andrew Byun receives a host of prizes including £5,000 and performance opportunities


HRH The Duke of Edinburgh awarding cellist Andrew Byun first prize | Gill Heppell/Windsor Festival

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25-year-old Canadian cellist Andrew Byun was awarded first prize at the Windsor Festival International String Competition on the evening of 15 March. His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh, Patron of Windsor Festival, presented the trophy at Eton College following the finals performance. Byun is currently studying with Laurence Lesser at the New England Conservatory in Boston, MA, US. 

The cellist wins a £5,000 cash prize, solo recording opportunity with Champs Hill Records, concerto performances with several orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Orpheus Sinfonia, and recital opportunities across Europe.


l-r Leon Blekh (second prize), Andrew Byun (first prize) and Leland Ko (third prize) | Gill Heppell/Windsor Festival

Second prize and £2,000 were awarded to Dutch violinist Leon Blekh, 24. He also received the Audience Prize. Blekh, intially a first reserve for the semi-final round, was only informed that he would be advancing to the semi-finals two days before they began. This was due to an injury of semi-finalist Anna Im, and the Curtis Institute’s refusal to allow semi-finalist Yesong Sophie Lee to attend due to extenuating circumstances. Third prize and £1,000 went to US-Canadian cellist Leland Ko, 25. 

The 2024 panel comprised Japanese violinist Joji Hattori, Norwegian violist Lars Anders Tomter, British cellist Natalie Clein, festival director Martin Denny, Champs Hill executive producer Alexander Van Ingen and managing director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra James Williams.

The competition, now in its 9th edition, was launched in 2008, in memory of festival founder, Yehudi Menuhin. Recent winners include Jiyoon Lee, Nathan Meltzer, Jonathan Swensen and Daniil Bulayev. Although traditionally held biennually since 2009, the last edition took place three years ago in 2021. 

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