US violinist late contender for Michael Hill comp

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A host of talented musos will be in Queenstown next month for the prestigious Michael Hill International Violin Competition.

Eighteen gifted violinists will string it out for a top semi-final spot in the biennial event starting June 3 in Queenstown – and American Stefani Collins is now in the musical mix.

Collins, a violin student in Cleveland, was the first of six back-up entrants and got called into the competition since Chinese semi-finalist Qiang Xiaoxiao pulled out after being offered a place in the St Louis Symphony.

The 2009 competition winner Josef Spacek was also a first alternate entry.

The rising stars will spend an intense three days of rounds playing in Queenstown before the group is whittled down to six performers.

Those few will compete over two days in Auckland before the final three competitors are selected to play with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in the grand finale on June 11.

The winner of the Michael Hill International receives $40,000, a CD recording and a winner’s tour in 2012 with Chamber Music New Zealand.

Second to sixth place receive $1,000 to $10,000 and a prize of $2,000 will be awarded to the semi-finalist who produces the best performance of New Zealand composer, John Psathas, specially-commissioned work Gyftiko (“gypsy”).