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King Philippe and Queen Mathilde attend first session of final of Queen Elisabeth Competition

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde have attended the first session of the final week of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Violin. The King and Queen saw the only Belgian finalist of this year’s edition of the prestigious music competition, Sylvia Huang play an extraordinary version of the Violin Concerto of Dvorak.

King Philippe made a surprise visit to the first session of the final week of the Queen Elisabeth Competition Violin 2019. His Majesty usually only attends the closing concert of the competition named after his great-grandmother. Queen Mathilde, however, is as Honorary President of the Queen Elisabeth Competition regularly spotted in the royal box. The fact that the only Belgian finalist of this edition of the contest, Ms Sylvia Huang, performed on the first evening, might have something to do with the attendance of His Majesty the King.

Because of the attendance of the King, the Belgian National Anthem, “The Brabançonne”, was played by the orchestra upon arrival of the King and Queen. After the formalities, it was time for the first finalist of the evening, Luke Hsu of the United States of America. He first performed the obligatory piece of music, “Fidl” which was specially composed for the competition by the Finnish composer Kimmo Hakola. All the finalist received precisely one week to practise this piece while they were on seclusion at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Waterloo.

Luke Hsu (USA) performs during the final of the Queen Elisabeth Competition Violin 2019. (Photo: Bruno Vessiez, QEC)

After the necessary part, Mr Luke Hsu performed the Violin Concerto of Tsjaikovski. No more than four finalists have chosen to play this piece during their final session this week. During the last sessions, the Belgian National Orchestra, lead by Hugh Wolff, accompanied the violin-playing finalists.

Sylvia Huang performs during the final of the Queen Elisabeth Competition Violin 2019. (Photo: Bruno Vessiez, QEC)

Then, it was time for the only Belgian finalist of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Violin 2019, Sylvia Huang. The 25-year old from Hainaut is currently the first violinist of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam. She also kicked off with the obligatory piece of music, “Fidl”. Her own chosen piece was the Violin Concerto of Dvorak. This is a remarkable choice because the piece of music hasn’t been played in the competition in 48 years. Ms Huang was able to move the public with her excellent performance, and even King Philippe had tears in his eyes.

Photo: King Philippe is moved by the performance of Sylvia Huang. (P: VRT Screenshot, FAIR USE)

On Wednesday afternoon, the King, Queen, Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz hosted the judges of the Queen Elisabeth Competition for lunch at the Royal Palace of Brussels. On Saturday evening, the laureates of this year’s Violin competition will be announced. Her Majesty the Queen will hand out the prizes at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Waterloo on the 28th of May.

The Queen Elisabeth Competition was founded in 1937 by Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians and her friend, the sublime violin player, Eugène Ysaÿe. The two friends wanted to establish an international violin competition, but due to World War II, it was only in 1937 that the first Eugène Ysaÿe Competition was held. Due to the war and the subsequent economic hardship, it took until 1950 for the prestigious competition to be relaunched. The competition was renamed to the Queen Elisabeth Competition that same year.

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