Singaporean Loh Jun Hong among 12 contenders for US$50,000 violin competition prize

Singaporean violinist Loh Jun Hong is among 12 semi-finalists of the inaugural Singapore International Violin Competition.

Also in the running are Ukrainian violinist Oleksandr Korniev, a second-year student at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Singapore, and South Korean musician Anna Lee, 20 this year, who lived in Singapore as a child and first studied the violin under the Singapore Symphony Orchestra's Alexander Souptel.

The jury announced the results on the evening of Jan 12, after hearing 35 candidates from 14 countries in the first round. The semi-finalists will play recitals of violin-piano sonatas from Jan 14 to Jan 16 at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Concert Hall and the top six scorers go to the finals.

Contenders are vying for a top prize of US$50,000 (S$66,000), a recording produced and globally distributed with music label Naxos and performances with noted orchestras such as the London Philharmonic.

The contest will also award other prizes from US$25,000 to US$4,000 for second- to sixth-place winners. All winners are eligible for a three-year loan of a fine violin from the Rin Collection, which includes top-end instruments such as Stradivari, Guarneri and Amati.

Loh, who turns 25 this year and did his bachelor's degree at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory, told The Straits Times that he was thrilled to make it to the semi-finals. He had worried about his first round performance of Paganini caprices. "The caprices are technical and my strong suit is more the romantic pieces and those accompanied pieces with the piano. Now I can focus on music-making."

For more details go to singaporeviolincompetition.com

Tickets to the competition are available from sistic.com.

akshitan@sph.com.sg