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Finalists named in 2014 Primrose International Viola Competition

Laurie Niles

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Published: June 13, 2014 at 6:12 AM [UTC]

On Thursday night jurors named three finalists in the 14th triennial Primrose International Viola Competition at The Colburn School in Los Angeles.

They are:

Manuel Vioque-Judde, Zhambo Zheng and Cong Wu

Manuel Vioque-Judde of France
Cong Wu of China
Zhanbo Zheng of China

Finalists will perform in the final round at 2 p.m. Saturday at Zipper Hall at The Colburn School, accompanied by the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Heiichiro Ohyama. Manuel Vioque-Judde will perform Benjamin Britten's "Lachrymae"; Cong Wu will perform the Handel/Casadesus Concerto in B minor; and Zheng Zhanbo will perform Benjamin Britten's "Lachrymae." They are competiting for First prize: $5,000 USD, a gold-mounted bow from Arcos Brasil, select appearances in the USA and Europe; Second Prize: $3,000 USD and a silver-mounted Arcos Brasil bow; and Third Prize: $1,000 USD and a nickel-mounted Arcos Brasil bow. There are also a number of other prizes; more information on this page.

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Thursday was the second day of recitals given by the eight semi-finalists, and I was happy to be able to attend all four. Some highlights: Manuel Vioque-Judde gave an fluid and unhurried performance of the Sarabande from Bach Suite No. 4, and his performance of the Andante from Mozart's Kegelstatt Trio, with so much ease, detail and attention to his fellow musicians, made this sunny piece downright radiant. Yifei Deng's Gavotte and Gigue from Bach Suite No. 6 were a pleasure to hear, with good timing that allowed him to take time without losing the sense of dance. Kyuri Kim gave a beautiful performance of the Viola Sonata by Rebecca Clarke (though the second movement was followed by the ringing of a cell phone that took just a little too long to silence!) She appeared unfazed; in the last movement she seemed completely immersed, deftly switching from the music's big buildups to its simpler moments. Zhanbo Zheng, in his "Malaguena" from "Sarasateana" by Efrem Zimbalist, had a way of turning runs into a wash of sound, making them look and sound as simple and inevitable as water flowing. Congratulations to all semi-finalists for their recital performances!

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Along with the Primrose competition is also a Viola Festival, which goes on through Friday and Saturday, as well as the annual meeting for the American Viola Society. If you are in the Los Angeles area and you are a violist, you really should come check out all the master classes, exhibits, technique sessions and recitals which are listed here. All events are at The Colburn School, right next to Disney Hall, and a daily pass for the Viola Festival is $45 ($40 for students and seniors).

I've been attending a number of these workshops and will share the ideas I've gathered over the next few days!

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