The 2024 Queen Elisabeth Competition ends with a spectacular succession of violin finals

It was a night to remember. It had been a very exciting week already, with two finalists each night performing their concerto as well as the challenging mandatory work by Thierry Escaich, but the last night turned out to be a real culmination of the three-week competition: Dmytro Udovychenko and Joshua Brown created a huge sensation, taking the two top prizes of the contest.

Udovychenko was first, with a spotless, highly virtuoso and moving performance of Shostakovich's Concerto No. 1- finishing the passacaglia with a devil-may-care perfection. After the intermission, Joshua Brown played a highly professional, musical and convincing rendition of the famous Brahms Violin Concerto. Not an easy task to master a huge and challenging work such as the Brahms after the complex and demanding Escaich, but Brown seemed to have endless reserves of energy all the way to the end. The audience was standing after every piece.

The Shostakovich is a very dark piece, written in 1947-48- a time when Shostakovich was still denounced by Stalin. It was dedicated to David Oistrakh, who characterized the first movement Nocturne as "a suppression of feelings," and the second movement Scherzo as "demonic.”  Despite the audience going wild after his performance, Udovychenko did not smile. Only when Chairman Gilles Ledure, long past midnight, announced that Udovychenko had won first prize, he was overcome by emotions. It was an outstanding performance, and a worthy winner for this huge and demanding competition. For Udovychenko,25, it meant another pinnacle of his career, after winning first Prize in Montreal, Singapore, and third Prize in Helsinki.


Dmytro Udovychenko, 1st prize winner ©️ Thomas Leonard

Dmytro Udovychenko trained at the Kharkiv Specialized Music Boarding School under Ludmila Varenina and at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen under Boris Garlitsky. He perfected his skills in masterclasses with Ana Chumachenco, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Stephan Picard and Leonidas Kavakos. In 2022 he was accepted into the class of Christian Tetzlaff at the Kronberg Academy. Dmytro Udovychenko has won the Heifetz Competition in Vilnius, the Odessa Competition and the Grand Prize of the Andrea Postacchini Competition in Fermo. In 2018 he won the Second Prize, Audience Prize and Internet Community Prize at the Josef Joachim Competition in Hanover. More recently, he was awarded Third Prize at the Sibelius Competition and First Prize at the Singapore and Montréal Competitions. He is supported by the Vere Music Fund, Villa Musica Rheinland-Pfalz and Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben.

Joshua Brown, 2nd prize winner ©️Thomas Leonard

Joshua Brown is currently studying under Donald Weilerstein at the New England Conservatory. He won First Prize and several special prizes at the Leopold Mozart Competition in Augsburg ; he also distinguished himself at the Indianapolis Competition and more recently won the Gold Medal at the first China International Music Competition. Joshua Brown has shared the stage with such leading orchestras as the Cleveland Orchestra, the Münchner Rundfunkorchester, the MDR-Sinfonieorchester and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. He has performed in concert halls around the world, including the Kennedy Center in Washington, Carnegie Hall and Merkin Hall in New York, the Severance Hall in Cleveland, the Symphony Center in Chicago, the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing and Stiftung Mozarteum in Salzburg.

Elli Choi, 3rd prize winner ©️Alexandre de Terwangne

Another audience favourite, Elli Choi (23) was the surprise winner of the Third Prize.

Elli Choi is pursuing an undergraduate degree at Columbia University, where she is majoring in economics-philosophy, while simultaneously training at The Juilliard School, where she has been studying since 2009. She is a laureate of the Classic Strings Competition in Dubai, the Fritz Kreisler Competition and the Qingdao Competition. She has collaborated with such orchestras as the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Juilliard Orchestra, the Novosibirsk Philharmonic Orchestra, the Salzburg Chamber Soloists and the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra. Elli Choi has already given many concerts in the United States, Europe and the Middle East, in major venues such as the David Geffen Hall, the David H. Koch Theater, the Maison Symphonique de Montréal, Carnegie Hall, the Berlin Philharmonie, the Abu Dhabi Palace and the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing.


1st Prize: Dmytro Udovychenko (25), Kronberg

2nd Prize: Joshua Brown (24), Boston

3rd Prize: Elli Choi (23), New York

Gilles Ledure (Chair), Augustin Dumay, Miriam Fried, Lorenzo Gatto, Philippe Graffin, Koichiro Harada, Dong-Suk Kang, Victor Kissine, Kyung Sun Lee, Midori Goto, Vadim Repin, Tatiana Samouil, Vineta Sareika, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Isabelle Van Keulen

Belgian National Orchestra / Antony Hermus (Conductor)


©️ WFIMC 2024