Los Angeles teenager Emma Wernig wins Birmingham International Viola Competition

Eighteen-year-old US teenager Emma Wernig from Los Angeles has secured a recording contract after winning the second Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition and Festival at Birmingham City University’s new £57 million Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Currently studying at the Colburn Conservatory with Scottish violist Paul Colletti, Emma landed the Conservatoire Prize of £5,00, a recording contract with Champs Hill, and a series of high profile recitals as part of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Concert Series.

Twenty-one-year Italian Lara Albesano landed the Lionel Tertis Prize of £3,000 for her second place. Third place was awarded to 18-year-old Parisian Sáo Soulez Larivière, who pocketed a tidy £1000 from the Gwyn Williams Charitable Trust.

There were 26 young violists aged 21 and under from across the world representing countries including Austria, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and the USA.

Speaking after the competition, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Head of Strings Dr Louise Lansdown commented, “Emma Wernig’s lustrous, rich viola sound resonated throughout the competition complimenting her mature and breathtaking interpretation of everything she chose to play.

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.”

The Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition and Festival ran from Saturday 18 until Friday 24 November at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham City University. The Festival was opened by three Sowetan musicians who have received training and mentoring from Conservatoire students. 

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