Sirena Huang, a 22-year-old violinist from South Windsor, Conn., won first prize tonight in the inaugural Elmar Oliveira International Violin Competition.
Huang, who has soloed with more than 40 orchestras including the New York Philharmonic and Cleveland Orchestra, received $30,000, along with a new violin, bow and case, plus professional management and performance opportunities, including the Atlantic Classical Orchestra, the Brevard Symphony Orchestra, Music in the Mountains, and several others.
Second prize of $15,000 went to Alina Ming Kobialka, 19, of San Francisco. The third-prize winner was 25-year-old Hannah Tarley , also of San Francisco, who won $10,000. Honorable mention went to Quanshuai Li, 22, of China, who received $1,000.
Huang’s viscerally exciting, masterful performance of the Violin Concerto of Tchaikovsky earlier in the afternoon brought the audience at the Wold Performing Arts Center to its feet. Kobialka’s reading of the Sibelius Violin Concerto, which came next, was equally well-received, as listeners responded to the violinist’s big, emotive sound and her deep musicality.
The competition was judged by a panel of eminent violinists including Daniel Heifetz, Charles Castelman, Andres Cardenes, Ilya Kaler, Alexander Gilman, Gudny Gudmunsdottir and Vera Tsu Wei-Ling. More than 80 violinists from 15 countries applied to take part in this inaugural competition, which will be held every three years.
Some 20 entrants were chosen for the contest, which opened Jan. 22. Eight semi-finalists were chosen from them, and then the four finalists. The final competition included either the Sibelius or Tchaikovsky concertos with the Lynn Philharmonia under Guillermo Figueroa. Huang played the Tchaikovsky, while Kobialka, Tarley and Li played Sibelius.
For more information, visit www.elmaroliveiraivc.org.