The Norwegian violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing took home third prize at the international soloist competition Young Musicans, which took place in Vienna last Friday. And, perhaps an even greater achievement; she won the popular prize based on the vote of the audience.
The audience was in this context the millions of TV-viewers from the twenty five countries to which the contest was broadcasted. These millions came in addition to the 40 000 present in city hall square in Vienna, who witnessed live the firework of talent and were bewitched by the young Norwegian violinist’s performance of Franz Waxman’s Carmen Fantasy.
It is not, however, the first time Hemsing wins the popular vote in a competition like this, for the exact same thing happened in the Norwegian national finals earlier this year. Of course, at that event she also won the jury’s first prize, which is what propelled her to the international finals in Vienna. There she first had to compete with twenty four other national winners for the seven slots in the final round.
She was the last one of the seven finalists to give her performance, and to play such a demanding piece in front of 40 000 people, as the closing act, takes quite a psyche and quite a musician.
With the rewards from the Young Musicians contest in her pocket, Eldbjørg can set her career-hopes higher than ever. For the popular response is of course sure indication that she has a luminous future as a performer. But first of all, it encourages her to continue her studies, to practice and to work hard, she relates.
She comes from a background in Norway that includes both traditional Norwegian music and classical training. From the age of five she has played the violin as well as the traditional Hardanger fiddle. The two expressions are completely different, but keeping a foot in both traditions has been very fruitful: her technique and musicality has clearly benefited greatly from it, and in Vienna on Friday it spellbound the spectators.