First time international violin competitor and St. John’s School seventh grade violinist, Justine Xu won first prize, placing 4th among 47 competitors in the 10-12 age group at the Asia Musicians Association’s 8th Hong Kong International Violin Competition held on February 4, 2018. She performed “Zigeunerweisen” by Spanish composer, Pablo de Sarasate.
Justine spent a lot of time preparing for the competition. She mentioned that before learning the competition piece in September, she spent many months improving various techniques required to play it (the piece). “Throughout the times of the preparation, I practiced 2-3 hours a day. To practice, my violin instructor made me play my piece in front of many different people so that I wouldn’t be as nervous when playing in the actual competition,” said Justine.
Participating in competitions is not new for the seventh grade violinist. She has been competing in violin competitions in Guam since 3rd grade, having participated and won in Elementary and Junior Division of the Young Artists Competition, in addition to gold medals in several Tumon Bay Music Festival.
“Competing internationally gives me a different experience. Facing a tough panel of judges who wanted to see different violin skills by asking me to stop in the middle and move to a different part of the music was really difficult,” she stated. “It made me lose my feelings for the music that I was building from the start of the piece.”
Participating and winning in the Hong Kong International Violin Competition boosted her confidence in future competitions and performances. “I am motivated to finish even higher next time,” Justine concluded.