Winner takes home $25,000 prize and earns solo performance with the Houston Symphony
Performing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor, violinist and Rice University Shepherd School of Music alumna Luke Hsu won the 41st annual Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition Saturday, June 4, at Rice University’s Stude Concert Hall. Hsu’s first place win earned her a gold medal, a $25,000 prize and a solo performance at Jones Hall with the Houston Symphony at the final concert of Day of Music at 7:30 p.m. July 9.
Hsu also impressed the audience, winning The Hermann Shoss Audience Choice Award in addition to receiving a vote of confidence from Houston Symphony musicians, who awarded him with The Robert and Nancy Peiser Award for Artistic Encouragement.
Hsu won The Grace Woodson Memorial Award, made possible thanks to the generosity of Symphony patrons John and Tracy Dennis in honor of his grandmother. His win marks the second year in a row a Houstonian wins the Ima Hogg Competition and holds considerable significance as this achievement grants Hsu a second performance with the Houston Symphony. Hsu previously performed with the Symphony in February 2007 as the winner of the 2006 Houston Symphony League Concerto Competition. Hsu will also complete a weeklong Education and Community Engagement residency with the Houston Symphony as an opportunity to contribute to the city’s community and develop education and community engagement abilities valued in a modern professional musician’s skillset.
Currently in the Artist Diploma program at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Hsu received his Masters of Music at the New England Conservatory. He is the prize-winner of prestigious competitions including the ISANGYUN International Violin Competition and the 10th Nielsen International Violin Competition, among others.
The Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition – a partnership between the Houston Symphony League and the Houston Symphony – is one of the foremost instrumental competitions in the world and was named to honor the memory of Miss Ima Hogg, a co-founder of the Houston Symphony. This prestigious competition is designed to identify outstanding young instrumentalists and support their pursuit of careers in music-making. Often raising their profile in the orchestra world, the competition helps them in their future careers as musical leaders – either as soloists, chamber musicians or orchestra members.
Chaired by Jo Dee Wright, an active member of the Houston Symphony League and the Underwriting Committee, this year’s finals competition featured four outstanding finalists selected from a pool of nearly 100 candidates ranging from a wide variety of instruments and nationalities.
The four finalists – cellist Christine J. Lee, percussionist Samuel Chan, violinist Luke Hsu and pianist Brian Lin – performed a concerto with the Houston Symphony in front of judges James Buswell, Erik Finley and Brett Mitchell and a live audience which was broadcast on Houston Public Media Classical 91.7 and News 88.7.
Christine J. Lee, the recipient of the Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition Second Place Award – presented by the Houston Symphony League in recognition of Jerry Priest, founding Chair of the Competition and member of the Houston Symphony League – took home a $10,000 prize and also earned the chance to perform with the Houston Symphony this summer at Miller Outdoor Theatre Saturday, June 25.