Interview: Michael Hill

With the Michael Hill International Violin Competition final on this Saturday we figured that there would be no better time to ask the man himself a few questions about it all.

When did you first pick up and play a violin Michael?

When I was a schoolboy in Whangarei, it was my entree into the world of music and culture, although I’ve never fulfilled my childhood dream of becoming a professional violinist, I’ve always continued playing.

Who encouraged you to pursue it to the level you did?

My own yearning for improvement and the ability to play certain repertoire. 

Why sponsor a violin competition?

Back in 1999 when I first came up with the idea, it was in response to the lack of competitions available to aspiring musicians. It has turned into a significant international event. I’m thrilled to encourage and support the best and brightest stars all over the world and to showcase New Zealand in the process.

How do you choose the semifinalists who come to NZ?

I certainly don’t do the choosing.  The Competition engages a panel of 5 NZ and Australian topnotch violinists to come together and, based on audio audition tapes only, sort through the masses of applicants and select the 18.

Is it good to know you’ve made a difference in an aspiring artists life?

Of course.  These young artists have a network of people that encourage and help them make the most of their amazing talent.

What does the competition  do for your business?

The Michael Hill brand is enhanced by the Competition which is about celebrating excellence and finding that most spectacular individual.  The business’ involvement with music, with golf, etc…illustrate that we value the pursuit of excellence and applaud the determination and charisma needed to achieve goals.

The Michael Hill International Violin Competition final is on this Saturday, June 11th at 7.30 pm in the Auckland Town Hall go to for more information

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