Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

Emma Wernig wins Cecil Aronowitz Competition

9:46, 27th November 2017

Emma Wernig has won the second second Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition and Festival, which took place at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire between 18 and 24 November.

The 18-year-old performed Walton’s viola concerto, winning the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Prize of £5,000, a recording contract with Champs Hill Records, and several high profile recitals as part of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s Concert Series, including the opportunity to give a recital in Symphony Hall, Birmingham.

The American violist’s performance in the final was her first time performing with an orchestra. Currently studying at the Colburn Conservatory under Paul Coletti, Wernig has previously taken part in the Heifetz International Music Institute summer programme and the three-week International Musicians Seminar Prussia Cove.

Dr Louise Lansdown, head of strings at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, praised Wernig’s ‘lustrous, rich viola sound’ and ‘mature and breathtaking interpretation of everything she chose to play’, adding: ‘She is without a doubt a star in the making and we are utterly thrilled to play a part in the launching of her wonderful career.’

Lara Albesano (aged 21, from Italy) received the Lionel Tertis Prize of £3,000 for finishing in second place, and Sáo Soulez Larivière (18, France) took third place and the Gwyn Williams Charitable Trust For Young Viola Prize of £1,000.

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire student Yue Yu (20, China), won the award for best sonata from her third round performance of York Bowen’s C minor viola sonata. Her prize was a Pierre Guillaume viola bow from Sean Bishop worth £5,000.

The second Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition saw performances from 26 young violists aged 21 or under, representing 20 nationalities. A number of events ran alongside the competition, including workshops, masterclasses, public recitals from jury members and displays from luthiers.

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