The violinist receives $50,000 prize money, a Naxos recording and high-profile performance engagements
Yu-Chien 'Benny' Tseng has won the inaugural Singapore International Violin Competition and takes home US $50,000 prize money. The 20-year-old Taiwanese violinist performed Sibelius's Concerto in the Grand Final this evening with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Verbitsky at the Esplanade Concert Hall. Richard Lin, also from Taiwan, takes second prize worth $25,000 and the audience prize for his performance of Brahms, and Sirena Huang, from the USA, takes third prize worth $15,000 for her performance of Tchaikovsky.
No stranger to the competition circuit, Tseng won third prize in the junior division of the Menuhin Competition at the age of eleven and first prize at the Sarasate Competition at the age of 15. In 2011 he won first prize at the Isang Yun International Violin Competition in Korea and most recently was the fifth laureate and audience award winner at the 2012 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Belgium. Both he and Lin studied at the Curtis Institute of Music.
In the Final, six competitors performed Mozart concertos with the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory orchestra conducted by Jason Lai. The remaining finalists were: Alexandra Conunova from Moldova, fourth prize; Hyun Jae Lim from South Korea, fifth prize; and Fedor Rudin from France, sixth prize.
In addition to the cash sum, the winner also receives a recording produced and distributed globally by Naxos, and all competition laureates benefit from international performance opportunities and access to a three-year instrument loan from the collection of fine rare instruments of Mr and Mrs Rin Kei Mei.
This year's jury included French violinist Pierre Amoyal and Vermeer Quartet founder Shmuel Ashkenasi.
The triennial contest received 148 applications from 27 countries, including China, the USA, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, Russia, Canada and a number of European destinations. These were shortlisted to 35 entrants from 14 countries, selected to perform in live rounds in Singapore from 10 to 21 January 2015.
For full competition details, including the special prizes, visit singaporeviolincompetition.com.
For videos of the contestants' performances visit the competition's YouTube page.