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Taiwanese teen violinist plays for Belgian royalty

2012/07/21 20:54:07

Brussels, July 20 (CNA) A 17-year-old violinist from Taiwan played for Belgian royalty at a National Day concert in Brussels on Friday, winning accolades from King Albert II and other members of the royal family.

Applause rang through the Henry Le Boeuf Hall, which accommodates up to 2,200 people, as at the end of Tseng Yu-chien's rendition of Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No.1 in D major.

Tseng also won rave reviews from King Albert II, according to David Lin, Taiwan's representative to the European Union and Belgium. The king was amazed at the virtuosity of the young violinist, Lin added.

Tseng was the first Taiwanese to perform at a concert in celebration Belgium's independence from the Netherlands 181 years ago.

The teenager, who has been enrolled at the Curtis Institute of Music in the United States since age 13, has won numerous honors in international competitions.

In 2009, he became the youngest first prize winner in the history of the Pablo Sarasate Competition and won special honors at the 2010 Paganini Competition.

In 2011, he won recognition at the International Tchaikovsky Competition and first prize at the Isang Yun Competition in South Korea.

Asked how he felt about representing Taiwan in the international music arena, Tseng said he was thrilled at his change in role from an awardee just two months ago to an invited performer.

In May, he placed fifth in the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Competition in Belgium, playing Ravel's violin sonata, Brahms'violin concerto and a technically demanding piece by Kreisler known as Devil's Trill Sonata.

Tseng was also one of the few musicians in the competition's 75-year history to win the support of rival audience members from the Dutch-speaking Flemish community in northern Belgium and the predominantly French-speaking Walloon Region in the south.

He won the people's prize at the competition, gaining the highest number of votes from music fans in both regions.

Organizers of the royal concert, which also hosted the Queen Elisabeth Competition, said that Tseng's invitation to play at the concert was meant to foster harmony and unity between the rival regions, which is a priority for the king.

(By Tsao Yu-fan and Scully Hsiao)
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