The Oskar Back prize of €12,000 was awarded to 22-year-old Dutch violinist Salomé Bonnema


Photo: Foppe Schut

Oskar Back prizewinners, left to right: Kira van der Woerd, Salomé Bonnema, Enzo Kok 

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The 29th Netherlands Violin Competition held its final round in the great hall of the TivoliVredenburg on 27 January. The competition was open to Dutch nationals and comprised multiple award categories.

The Oskar Back prize for high-level violinists between the ages of 18 and 26 awarded its first prize of €12,000 to Salomé Bonnema, 22. Second prize of €6,000 and the €1,500 prize for the best performance of the commissioned work Unlock your full potential by Mayke Nas was won by Kira van der Woerd, 18, while third prize of €4,000 and the audience award of €1,000 went to Enzo Kok, 21. Finalists performed in concert with the Residentie Orkest, conducted by Jonathan Bloxham. The jury comprised Marieke Blankestijn, Yoram Ish-Hurwitz, Janet Krause, Cristoph Poppen, Joseph Puglia, Francien Schatborn, Jan Willem de Vriend, Patty Hamel, and was chaired by Roland Kieft.

Bonnema is currently studying at the Royal Conservatoire in the Hague with Vera Beths. She previously won the Iordens and Davina van Wely prizes in the Netherlands Violin Competition, the Princess Christina Competition, was a finalist in the Kloster Schöntal International Violin Competition, and is also the first violinist in the prizewinning Viride Quartet. She plays on a Charles Adolphe Gand violin on loan from the J.A. Beare’s International Violin Society, with a Charles Peccatte bow on loan from the Nationaal Muziekinstrumenten Fonds.

The performance prize of €1,500 was won during the Oscar Back semifinals by Quintijn van Heek, 21, subject to a special jury of students from the Utrecht University and Utrecht University of the Arts. This comprised Madelief Lammers, Marloes Neijens, Joris van de Sande, Noa Steel, Brant Teunis, Femke Veldman, and was chaired by Jorinde Keesmaat.

The Young Makers Prize, dedicated to violinists with ensembles playing genres other than classical, awarded its first prize of €3,000 to Noah Hassler-Forest, 23, and his Utrecht-based ensemble. Second prize of €2,000 went to Teddy Sicking, 20, with the Zaandam-based ensemble TJ’s Pretty People. Third prize of €1,000 was won by Sybren Holwerda, 26, and the Zwolle-based Isle Quartet. The jury comprised Kevin Henderson, Yannick Hiwat, Tessa Lark, Lenneke van Staalen, Huy Lien The, and was chaired by Tim Kliphuis.

The Davina van Wely Prize for serious violinists aged 14 to 17 awarded its first prize of €3,000 to Marcel Sutedja, 16, second prize of €1,500 to Michelle Kumara, 15, along with the €500 prize for the best Mendelssohn performance, and third prize of €750 to Charlotte Kouwe, 17. Finalists performed in concert with the Britten Jeugd Strijkorkest, conducted by Loes Visser. All semi-finalists in the category were awarded the Coosje Wijzenbeek Prize, receiving a certificate and an exclusive invitation to a workshop day. This year’s jury comprised Frederieke Saeijs, Marc Daniel, Natalia Gabunia, Shunske Sato, Laura Soeters, and was chaired by Marjolein Dispa.

The Iordens Prize is split into two categories based on age. The Iordens B Prize for violinists aged 13 to 14 awarded its first prize of €1,000 to Katja Naegele, 14, second prize of €500 to Quinten van Brummen, 14, and third prize of €250 to Floor Kes, 14, along with the €150 prize for the best performance of the commissioned work Petit Morceau by Mathilde Wantenaar. The jury comprised Gerard Spronk, Theodora Garaets, Hannah Strijbos, Qui van Woerdekom, Huy Lien The, and was chaired by Wiesje Miedema and Hans Scheepers.

The Iordens A Prize for violinists aged 10-12 was won by Zoi Degtiareva, 10, receiving €1,000 and the €150 prize for the best performance of Hedgehog by Henk van der Muelen. Second prize of €500 was won by Anne Sophie van Lier, 12, and third prize of €250 was won by Sara Kazama, 10. The €200 encouragement prize for violinists aged 10-12 was awarded to Annalucia Whittaker-Williams. The jury comprised Liesbeth Ackermans, Clara François, Gerard Spronk, Julia Veerling, Huy Lien The, and was chaired by Hans Scheepers and Wiesje Miedema.

The competition also hosted a showcase open to violinists aged 6 to 17, for any who wished to perform for an audience and panel of experts to receive feedback and tips, and an open podium for violinists who wished to gain stage experience without performing for a jury. The showcase panel consisted of Edith Blog, Annemieke Corstens, Dirk Feller, Mara Oosterbaan, Elise ten Westenend, and Niki Perdok.

Participants in the Davina van Wely Prize, both Iordens Prizes, the showcase and the open podium also participated in a Violin Orchestra, led by Dutch jazz violinist Tim Kliphuis, which performed in concert on the final day.

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