2013 Competition Winners
Listen to Ben perform:Track 1
Born in New Zealand in 1990, Benjamin Baker first picked up a violin at three years old. Four years later he had made seven television appearances and played with the celebrated Nigel Kennedy who recommended he apply to join The Yehudi Menuhin School in London. Benjamin was granted a scholarship in 1998 and travelled from New Zealand to begin his training in England later that year. Benjamin was privileged to be the last student at the school to know the late Lord Menuhin who glowingly wrote him a personal note: ‘Knowing you will do wonderfully well’.
Since leaving New Zealand, aged 8, Benjamin has played in the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, Bath Pump Room at the International Bath Festival and has given recitals in Turkey, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, France, Denmark, Sweden and New Zealand
Benjamin made his concerto debut in 2002 at 12 years old playing Mozart Violin Concerto No 4 in Istanbul with the Romanian State Orchestra to an audience of nearly 1,000. He has since been invited to play many major Concertos with professional orchestras worldwide.
Invited back to New Zealand two years later, Benjamin played two performances of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto which were broadcast live on Radio New Zealand with the NGC Wellington Sinfonia. He returned to New Zealand for concert tours in 2008 and 2010.
The Cathcart Concerto Award in 2007 gave Benjamin his first opportunity to play with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London. The critic Michael Darvell said of his performance, ‘At just 17, Benjamin is obviously destined for great things’.
At the 2009 Gstaad Festival in Switzerland, Benjamin impressed the Daily Telegraph critic, Michael White, who wrote, ‘A fine account of Vaughan Williams’ Concerto Academico with Benjamin Baker, a sleek-sounding young soloist; Hugely impressive’.
Benjamin has received acclaim both as a soloist and also as a member of the string ensemble, Trio Boyarsky. In the last two years Benjamin has toured Sweden, Denmark, France, Singapore and New Zealand with Trio Boyarsky.
Benjamin is currently studying on a full ABRSM scholarship at the Royal College of Music with Professor Natasha Boyarsky. Benjamin has been awarded prizes from many international competitions. In May 2011 he was awarded 2nd Prize at the Postacchini International Violin Competition in Italy. In February 2012 Benjamin was awarded 1st prize in the string section of the Royal Overseas League Competition and most recently, Benjamin has been awarded the Development Prize from the 2013 Michael Hill International Violin Competition .
Benjamin released his first solo CD, ‘Arcadian Strings’ in 2005, which won the Classic FM ‘Next Big Thing’ Competition. In 2010 he released his second CD, ‘Benjamin Baker Live at The Menuhin Hall’. Benjamin was honoured to be awarded Life Membership of the Rotary Club of Port Nicholson for his commitment to children’s charities since first busking on the streets of Wellington aged 5.
Listen to Yuka perform:Track 1
Violinist Yuka Ishizuka has been described as an “irresistible” artist (Music and Vision) and brought a “lyrical outpouring of purest joy”.
Yuka has performed as recitalist at major venues including Wigmore Hall London, Bridgewater Hall Manchester, Suntory Hall (Blue Rose) in Tokyo, Kings Place London, Fairfield Halls, Steinway Hall and had appeared as soloist with Croydon Symphony Orchestra, Guildford Symphony Orchestra, Camden Chamber Orchestra, Sevenoaks Symphony Orchestra, Academy Strings Orchestra at Royal Academy of Music, with whom she premiered the Mozart Concerto for Violin and Piano by Dr. Tim Jones in 2010.
Being an active chamber musician, Yuka has performed the Three Brahms Violin Sonata recitals in London, and has also collaborated with Itzhak Perlman, Robert Cohen as well as Maurice Hasson with whom she performed the Double Bach Violin Concerto.
Yuka is a recipient of numerous award and prizes including the Tillett Trust Young Artist Platform Award, Worshipful Company of Musicians Award, Rohm Music Foundation, Manchester Mid-day Concerts Society Artists Award, the Philharmonia Orchestra Martyn Musical Scholarship, the first prize at the International Young Musicians’ Competition in Italy, Beethoven Piano Society of Europe Chamber Music Competition, Winfield Small Solo Violin Prize and Harold Craxton Chamber Music Prize at Royal Academy of Music.
Her festival appearances include Salzburg Mozarteum Summer Academy, Pablo Casals Festival, Perlman Music Program, Prussia Cove International Music Seminar, where she worked with Ana Chumachenco, Schmuel Ashkanasi, Igor Oistrakh, Itzhak Perlman, Donald Weilerstein, David Takeno, Gyorgy Pauk and Gerard Poulet.
Yuka holds Bachelor of Music and Master of Arts from Royal Academy of Music with the first class honors and the highest violin exam mark ever at Academy, where she studied with Maurice Hasson and Tomotada Soh. Her future engagements include West Road Concert Hall debut and the première performance of a newly written piece by renowned Greek composer, Athanasia Tzanou.
Yuka plays on a Jacob Fendt violin c.1840.
Listen to Michael perform:Track 1
Violinist, LEE, MARISOL was born in Seoul on 1987, started a violin at the age of five, graduated first from Yewon school with performance test, entered Seoul Arts High School at the top of class, graduated at the top of music and total performance tests, got Music Award, was selected in "Sinsujeong Scholarship Student", was awarded a lot of prizes such as the prize that brings honor to Yewon&Seoul Arts High School, entered Seoul National University in String Department at the top of class. LEE, MARISOL who goes study to Germany while in school is in Munich National College of Music and continue in Royal academy of Music on a full Scholarship “Dowager Viscountess Rothermere Scholarship” at the present.
She won many competitons besides The 1.prize in Jungang Music Competiton, 3.prize in Busan Music Competition, The Winning of a prize in Dongah Music Competition as the youngest participant, the 1.prize in Ehwa Competition, The Top Prize in Youth Seoul Music Competition, Gold Prize Munhwa Ilbo Competiton of Seoul Youth Chamber Competition, Overall Top Honor in Seoul Chamber Music competition, Seoul National Symphony Competition, 1.prize in Seoul Symphony Competition, 1.prize in TBC Compeititon of Daegu Broadcasting, beginning with the top prize in Nanpa(Seongjeong) Music Competition at the age of 8.
Also in foreign country, won the first prize in Max Rostal International Competition 2009 that was held in Berlin, Germany and the third prize in China International Violin Competition that was held in Qingdao in 2011, China, was awarded "Stennebruggen-Preis" that the orchestra members select the best soloist in Carl Flesch Academy in 2009 that was held in Baden-Baden, Germany, and third prize in Koenigin Sophie Charlotte International Competition.
She had guest performance as the first musician of the New Year in Kumho Young Artist
New Year's Concert Recital, 2011, also had a Recital in a lot of places besides college of music in Munich, Germany, Mozart Hall Recital, Kumho Young Artist Chamber, Kumho Young Artist Recital, Kumho Talented Person Concert & Chamber headed by guest performance in Recital Hall in the Seoul Arts Center. She performed with the Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie, Belgium, Orchestra Academy of music, Beijing, China, Orchestra in national college of music, Munich, Suwon Philhamonic Orchestra, Daegu Phillharmony, Seoul Symphony, Seoul Philhamonic Orchestra, Xiamen Philharmonie Orchestra, Beijing Symphonie Orchestra, Qingdao Symphonie in China, Kammerakademie Orchester, Baden-Baden Philharmonie in German and performed Regular Concert of Seoul Arts High School in the auditorium, Sejong Culture Center for the Performing Arts.
She participated in National Chamber Festival, Miyazaki, Japan as the musician of Korea representative, had guest performance for two years in a row in Music Alp Festival (Seoul Spring Chamber Festival at the present), Chamber Festival that was held in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, Logos Youth Orchestra Association Concert, Gwangju and Munich, Germany. Also completed Switzerland Sion Summer Academy for three years in a row, Baden-Baden Carl Flesch Academy, Liechtenstein Music Festival and Haus Marteau Academy. She does a lot of performance activities in Europe and Korea at the present.
She also was selected as the scholarship student in Foundation "Deutsche stiftung musikleben" in Hamburg/Germany, received Antonio Stradivarius 1703, Cremona(Antonio Stradivarius 1703 Cremona) instrument and uses them.
She studied under Lee, Jong-Suk & Kwon, Sang-Hee Professors and also Lee, Mi-Kyung and Ingolf Turban Professors in Hochschule fuer Musik und Theater, Munich and currently studies under Maurice Hasson in Royal Academy of Music in London.