by Peter Murphy
BUDAPEST, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- Wang Xiao from China and Aleksandra Kuls from Poland on Saturday performed a gala concert here after they shared the top prize at Budapest's 46th International Music Competition.
"I am very glad and excited to get the award," Wang, 25, told Xinhua after the gala concert at the Palace of Arts, which wrapped up the prestigious 10-day event.
Each year the competition focuses on a different instrument. The violin takes its turn in the spotlight every five years, and the viola was also included this year in the Jozsef Szigeti violin and viola competition.
Wang is the first Chinese violinist to win the violin competition. Born in Lanzhou, Gansu province, he began learning the instrument from his aunt, a violin teacher.
In 1997, he and his parents moved to Beijing from Xinjiang, and he was enrolled in the primary school of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. It was at that time that he decided what he wanted to do with his life, recalled Wang, who now studies in New York at the Manhattan School of Music.
Wang also won first prize at a recent music festival in Houston, where he played a Sibelius violin concerto just as during the gala concert in Budapest.
"I haven't taken part in many competitions as I do not really enjoy competing," he said after the concert. "Everyone has to conform to certain standards."
"Sometimes if you show too much personality, not every jury likes it. I, however, like to show my true feelings. I love the feeling of standing on stage though, and transmitting my feelings through the violin to the audience. Then they respond to me and have the same feeling. I hope that I can continue do this," he said.
Kuls, 21, who studies at the Academy of Music in Krakow, said the first place in the Szigeti competition was important for a violinist at the beginning of a career.
"It means it's more possible to be heard by some musicians, as well as TV and radio," she said.
Erno Kallai of Hungary came second and also won the audience prize. Kallai has spent the last six years studying at the Juilliard School of Music in New York.
"This competition can give me opportunities to play more in Hungary now after six years away. I entered it to raise my profile in Hungary. I will stay here for a while performing, but will continue to give concerts in Europe and the US," added Kallai.
The international event drew 88 competitors in total and offered a first prize of 8,000 euros (10,400 U.S. dollars).