Ayane Kozasa wins the 2011 Primrose International Viola Competition
On Sunday, June 5th, 24 year old Ayane Kozasa of the United States and fellow finalists Elias Goldstein and Vicki Powell performed with the New Mexico Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Gabriel Gordon in Keller Hall at the University of New Mexico during the final round of the Thirteenth Primrose International Viola Competition. Following the afternoon performances the audience eagerly awaited results joined by viewers watching live online from around the world.
Kozasa was overwhelmed by her win and tearfully accepted her award. First prize includes $5,000 USD, use of a viola made by Spanish master luthier Jardon Rico, a gold-mounted Arcos Brasil bow, and select concert appearances in the United States and Europe.
Second prize of $3,000 and an Arcos Brasil bow went to 28 year old Elias Goldstein of the United States and Norway. Third prize of $1,000 and an Arcos Brasil bow went to 22 year old Vicki Powell of the United States. A special prize for the best performance of Peter Askim's composition Inner Voices, commissioned for the competition, was won by first prize winner Ayane Kozasa, as was the Mozart Award for best chamber music performance. The Bach Prize, supported by Linnet Press Editions, was awarded to Yi Fei Deng of China and Wolfram Hauser of Germany. The Primrose Prize for an outstanding performance of a Primrose transcription was awarded to Bogdan Banu of Romania and Da Kyung Kwak of South Korea. The Sonata Prize for an outstanding performance of a sonata was awarded to third prize winner Vicki Powell of the United States.
Prizes for the best performance of a 20th century concerto were awarded to Adrien La Marca of France and Daniel Hanul Lee of Canada. The Director's Award, chosen by competion chair Nokuthula Ngwenyama, was awarded to Elias Goldstein and Adrien La Marca. Lauriane David of France received the Tone Award. Yi Fei Deng of China, Daniel Getz of the United States, Wenting Kang of China, Daniel Palmizio of Italy, Cong Wu of China, and Sang Hyun Yong of South Korea received Robertson Prizes. Matthew Lipman of the United States and Da Kyung Kwak of South Korea were awarded honorable mentions.
The 2011 Competition jury was internationally representative and included Karin Brown of the United States, Che-Yen Chen of Taiwan, Kirsten Docter of the United States, Wing Ho of China, Luis Magin of Spain, Karen Ritscher of the United States, Yizhak Schotten of Israel, Barbara Westphal of Germany, and Juliet White-Smith of the United States.
Leading up to the finals was a week of intense competition for 29 quarterfinalists representing 13 countries during which each competitor received an instant scoring. This method of scoring, supported by the Kyogen Content Management System (CMS), was a first amongst international competitions and enabled live results with added transparency.
Quarterfinal rounds were held May 31st and June 1st, during which competitors were required to perform the first movement of their 20th century concerto, selections of Bach, and a Primrose transcription. Upon completion of those rounds the top eight competitors passed on to the semi-final round. During the semifinals, competitors were required to perform Peter Askim's Inner Voices, a second Primrose transcription, a sonata, the first movement of the Mozart Divertimento with violinist Andy Simionescu and cellist James Holland, and a selection of Bach. From this round, the jury chose the three finalists. All rounds and scoring were open to the public and broadcast in high definition live over the internet. Over 12,000 unique visitors viewed the competition from 62 countries on six continents during the week.
The triennial Primrose International Viola Competition aims to recognize and showcase young musicians who have achieved world class excellence through intensive hard work and unusual talent. Founded in 1979 as the first international competition solely for violists, William Primrose served as chair of the jury for its inaugural year. The American Viola Society (AVS), through an endowment established by memorial contributions made by friends, colleagues, artists, and admirers of the great virtuoso, has sponsored the competition since 1986. Over the last 30 years it has established an impeccable track record for identifying the talent of tomorrow and is respected for its integrity. Past winners are currently engaged in the highest levels of professional artistic careers.