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Waikato student wins inaugural Wallace International Cello Competition

23 August 2016

Matthias Balzat

Conservatorium of Music student Matthias Balzat has won the inaugural Wallace International Cello Competition.

After an evening of recitals by three of the world’s most promising young cellists, University of Waikato Conservatorium of Music student and Hillary Scholar Matthias Balzat has won the inaugural Wallace International Cello Competition.

The competition, part of the Waikato International Cello Fest which takes place this week, was made possible by the sponsorship of Sir James Wallace, one of New Zealand’s foremost arts supporters.

Matthias performed a gruelling programme of Bach, Schubert, Franck, Williams and Franck over 45 minutes. He displayed his trademark poise, delicate and sensitive interpretative skills and outstanding technique, skills which have been developed under the guidance of the Conservatorium of Music's Senior Lecturer in cello James Tennant

This continues Matthias's long list of recent competition successes including prizes at the Gisborne International Music Competition and the National Concerto Competition.

Matthias won the competition over finalists Jack Bailey from Australia and Chen Pin Jyun from Taiwan. The judging panel, comprising renowned cellists Richard Aaron, Philippe Muller, and Wolfgang Schmidt, unanimously awarded first place to Matthias, along with a $7000 cheque.

The judges awarded joint second place to the other finalists, both receiving prize money of $2000.

The attention for students now turns to cello masterclasses, while the concert schedule of the festival sees multi award-winning cellist Li-Wei Qin take the stage alongside the Conservatorium of Music’s Katherine Austin on piano.

Plans are underway to establish a regular event that attracts the world’s best cellists to the region.

Visit the Waikato International Cello Fest website for more information.


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