June 12, 2006, 3:00PM
30TH IMA HOGG YOUNG ARTIST COMPETITION
A violinist with all the right moves: Shih-Kai
Lin wins Houston Symphony contest
(Excerpts taken from the Houston
Chronicle, Copyright 2006.*)
A Taiwan-born violinist won
the Houston Symphony's upgraded and newly ambitious 30th Ima Hogg
Young Artist Competition on Saturday.
Playing with music director
Hans Graf and the orchestra, Shih-Kai Lin, 22, won with an impassioned
performance of Sibelius' Violin Concerto. He received $5,000 and
a solo appearance during the annual Houston Chronicle Dollar Concert
July 1 in Jones Hall, as well as the audience choice award.
Lin was the only finalist who
displayed the sense of personality that aspiring soloists need to
have the minute they walk onstage. The son of a businessman and
a housewife, Lin came to the United States in 1999 to attend a high
school-level boarding school for the arts in suburban Boston. Its
music program is affiliated with the New England Conservatory of
"(In the United States) I can
get more experience to better my music education" including seeing
live performances by great soloists and orchestras, Lin said. "Visually
and aurally it's very important to attend their concerts."
A musical first
Saturday's finals in Rice University's
Stude Concert Hall marked the first time the music director and
orchestra participated in the competition. Previously, both semi-finals
and finals were presented with piano accompaniment.
Their participation was "a
major step for this competition," said Richard Dyer, music critic
of the Boston Globe and one of the judges. Others were Daniel Hege,
music director of the Syracuse Symphony, and Ron Merlino, a vice-president
and artists representative with Columbia Artists Management Inc.,
a leading company in the field.
Behind the scenes, both the
Houston Symphony League, the organizer of the competition, and symphony
staff spent many months of more intense work and tighter cooperation
than ever before.
An incredible moment
Lin, who has just completed
the bachelor's program at the Juilliard School, will return for
more studies, including, he hopes, the demanding Artist Diploma,
which concentrates on performance. He studies with noted concert
violinists Cho-Liang Lin and Naoko Tanaka.
His highest ambition is to
be a concert violinist. "Winning this competition will help build
confidence, experience and strength to go ahead to that goal. It's
one of the most incredible moments of my life."
Lin was a recipient of the
2005 Youth Musical Scholars Foundation Scholarship for graduate
study at Julliard School of Music.