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Queen Mathilde attends semi-finals of prestigious Queen Elisabeth Competition

Queen Mathilde has attended the semi-finals of the Queen Elisabeth Competition Violin on Saturday evening. Her Majesty is the Honorary President of the world-famous music competition.

Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of the Belgians stepped out on Saturday to attend the last semi-final of the Queen Elisabeth Competition at Flagey in Brussels. Previously, the Queen attended four other sessions of this year’s edition of the prestigious music competition. For one of the sessions, Mathilde brought along her youngest daughter, Princess Eléonore.

This year the Queen Elisabeth Competition is all about the violin. The competition has four disciplines: violin, piano, cello and voice. Every year another discipline is played with this year being the 19th violin session.

The 12 finalists of the 2019 violin edition of the Queen Elisabeth Competition. (Photo: Bruno Vessiez, QEC)

After the different sessions of the semi-finals, only 12 finalists remain. Queen Mathilde was very happy to see the only Belgian finalist, Sylvia Huang receive a ticket for the finale. In total 71 candidates, aged between 18 and 30-years-old, from 19 different nationalities competed. The week before the finale, the candidates will stay at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel, where they will have a week to study a compulsory work composed for this edition by the Finnish composer, Kimmo Hakola.

This year’s final week will take place from 20 to 25 May. The Honorary President will attend the finale sessions on 20 May, 22 May and 25 May. On Thursday 24 May, Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz will replace the Queen. During the finale week, the different finalists will play pieces of the famous composers Tsjaikovski, Brahms, Sibelius, Beethoven, Sjostakovitsj and Dvorak.

Queen Mathilde will eventually hand out the prizes to the laureates at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel on the 28th of May. The prizes include 128.500 euros, and the first laureate will have the opportunity to play the ‘Huggins’ 1708 Stradivarius violin for four years.

Queen Mathilde handing out a prize to a laureate of the Queen Elisabeth Competition. (Photo: Queen Elisabeth Competition)

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde will host the judges of the competition for lunch at the Royal Palace on 21 May. Both royals will also attend the closing concert at the Brussels Centre for Fine Arts, also known as Bozar, on the 6th of June.

Her Majesty tries to attend as many sessions of the annual Queen Elisabeth Competition as she can, and she often brings along her children. Mathilde is the Honorary President of the world-famous competition since 2014 when Queen Fabiola asked Mathilde to replace her. Before Queen Mathilde, the Queen Elisabeth Competition had two other royal Honorary Presidents: Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians and then her granddaughter-in-law, Queen Fabiola.

Queen Mathilde seated next to the previous Honorary President of the Competition, Queen Fabiola. (Photo: Bruno Vesiez, Queen Elisabeth Competition)

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 was only in 1950 that the prestigious competition was relaunched.

In 1951, the competition was renamed to the Queen Elisabeth Competition.

About author

Laura is from Belgium and has a passion for all things royal. She is Europe Correspondent for Royal Central since October 2016 and has contributed to other news websites. In her daily life she is a fulltime student in EU-politics and political communication.