Sensation in Sion
14-year-old Seohyun Kim from Seoul wins First Prize at the Tibor Varga Competition
It was the perfect night for a spectacular final- a beautiful sunset over the magnificent Valais mountains set the stage for the 2023 Tibor Varga international Violin Competition in Sion, Switzerland. It was the last competition at Ferme Asile, a rustic farm-turned-into concert hall- the city is planning to open a new venue in 2025.
As in 2021, the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra and Sergej Krylov provided an impressive, high-level accompaniment for the three finalists.
The evening began with Tchaikovsky: Rennosuke Fukuda, 23, presented a well-balanced, spotless interpretation. What followed was a sensation: Seohyun Kim, 14 year-old violin student from Seoul, performed a Brahms Concerto that was worthy of a future star. Perfectly in tune, with great musicality and impressive stage presence, Seohyun Kim easily convinced both jury and youth jury and won First Prize.
Raphael Nussbaumer, 17 and the local favourite, won Second and Audience Prize.
Second Prize: Raphael Nussbaumer
Third Prize: Rennosuke Fukuda
The orchestra final had been preceded with a chamber music final on the previous day, where the candidates had to perform two major piano trios with Alexander Chaushian (Cello) and Ashley Wass (Piano).
24 young violinists under age 26 took part in the competition, which counted 149 applications this year.
"I'm very happy about the beautiful musical discoveries that we were able to make," said Augustin Dumay, chairman of the jury. "Nowadays, a very high technical level is guaranteed in all competitions. We find many violinists, but only a few real musicians who have a story to tell and make us dream. Here, however, we've found a number of personalities that will truly stimulate us to listen to them later."
"We experienced an edition of exceptional artistic level, so rich in unique and captivating personalities," confirms Olivier Vocat, President of the Sion Violon Musique Foundation. “We were very impressed by the great musical maturity of the candidates, some of whom are still very young. We are also pleased that these outstanding violinists were applauded by a large audience.”
First Prize: Seohyun Kim (14)
Second Prize: Raphael Nussbaumer (17)
Third Prize: Rennosuke Fukuda (23)
Jury: Augustin Dumay, James Brown, Stella Chen, Mihaela Martin, Natsumi Tama, Ingolf Turban, Pavel Vernikov.
Artists: Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra/ Sergei Krylov, Conductor