Guest Post: Lavinnia Rae – Gisborne International Music Competition

Cellist and Chamber Music Contest Alumnus Lavinnia Rae took part in the 26th annual Gisborne International Music Competition this December. She shares the experience with us…


Contest Alumnus and cellist, Lavinnia Rae

Contest Alumnus and cellist, Lavinnia Rae

Being a first time competitor in the Gisborne International Music Competition was at first nerve-wracking but turned out to be a great experience. I arrived with no expectations and entered honestly for my own developmental purposes, to get feedback and to watch and observe how the international competition works. It was something to work towards for the end of the year after completing my first year at the New Zealand School of Music.

By the first night the atmosphere and feel became somewhat relaxed by the Gisborne sun and all the competitors were incredibly friendly. Luckily enough I played on the first day which was Monday, and felt as though I played to the best of my abilities despite a couple of small mishaps. Everyone came with 45 minutes worth of repertoire and then 45 minutes before playing we would receive the much anticipated envelope informing us of the selected works to play for the first round. This year the first round seemed to have a theme of Classical, solo or slow movement pieces.

Once the 3 days of first round performances were over, the semi finalists were announced on Wednesday night. Although 14 of the 45 competitors were chosen, I had felt so inspired by the many amazing and heartfelt performances given by even the youngest of overseas and kiwi competitors. There were some really special not only technically skilled but musically talented people. If anything, it only boosts my motivation to do even better for next year.

Although it was a competition I still think what makes the New Zealand base special is the friendliness and also what happens when we’re not practising or competing. We had many Wainui beach drives and Mc Donald’s drive-thru trips to get ice cream as pedestrians. I still felt having fun was important as well as bonding and growing friendships with old and new friends. The BBQ on Thursday night added to this aspect creating a circle of competitors getting to know one another in an informal environment while passing food around.

Lavinnia on the beach in Gisborne with other competitors.

Lavinnia on the beach in Gisborne with other competitors.

The finalists on Saturday night were Rustem Khamidullin, Hugh Roberts and Sam Lucas, with the results in that order. Two cellos, and a flautist.

The three finalists: Winner Rustem Khamidullin, 2nd place Hugh Roberts, 3rd place Sam Lucas

The three finalists: Winner Rustem Khamidullin, 2nd place Hugh Roberts, 3rd place Sam Lucas

The three recitals were of the highest standard and I loved watching the two cellists play with such expression, especially Sam’s performance of the Brahm’s F major sonata. I know little to nothing about the flute but I know that Hugh played amazingly and Rustem’s “Dance of the Elve’s” by Popper was executed with such precision and the audience awarded his hard work with cheers and applause. With that being said, there were several other outstanding performances such as Lily Higson-Spence on violin from Brisbane being one of the youngest performers, sixteen years old. I also very much enjoyed Chris Mui from Yong Siew Toh in Singapore and Catherine Kwak on cello who played the difficult “Shadow of the Hawk,” by New Zealand composer Gareth Farr.

Lastly, I know that it takes a lot of effort to make the competition happen so I’d like to thank Mark and his team, the two two jurors; Bridget and Tamsin as well as all of the billets, accompanists and sponsors that helped make this years 26th Gisborne International Music Competition possible. I thoroughly enjoyed those 9 intense musical days and hope to return again next year as an improved cellist!

– Lavinnia, 10.12.14


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