Chinese student wins top prize at international viola contest

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A 20-year old Chinese student studying at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in Britain has won a top prize in an international competition, Birmingham City University announced Saturday evening.

Yue Yu, who is from China's Shenzhen, won the award for Best Sonata for her third performance of York Bowen's 'Viola Sonata No. 1 in C Minor' (1905). Her prize was a Pierre Guillaume viola bow worth 6.700 U.S. dollars.

Guillaume is one of the world's leading bow makers with a workshop in Brussels which attracts musicians from Europe's largest orchestras. The prize was donated by London based instrument and bow expert Sean Bishop.

Yu was a finalist in a global music competition which concluded at the weekend at Birmingham City University's new 76 million U.S. dollars Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Hosted in conjunction with the Arts Council of England, British Viola Society and Birmingham Services for Education, the Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition is named after the acclaimed South African violist, whose wife Nicola Aronowitz was a member of the jury for the competition.

The second Cecil Aronowitz International saw 26 young violists aged 21 and under, representing 20 nationalities in the first major competition to take place in the Conservatoire's new home.

Dr. Louise Lansdown, head of Strings at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, said: "The young global talent on display as part of this Competition was phenomenal and we were blown away at every round. Alongside creative flair we were impressed with the performers' professionalism and stamina; the five finalists themselves performed 10 concertos on the last day alone, which is certainly the musical equivalent of a marathon."

The event took place in the first purpose built conservatoire in the UK since 1987. The new institution which opened in September this year is the only one of its kind in the country designed for the demands of the digital age.

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