HELSINKI, Finland — Violinist Emmanuel Tjeknavorian won second prize at the prestigious Jean Sibelius International Violin Competition, held every five years. In addition to the second prize, worth 18,000 euros, the 20-year-old Tjeknavorian also received a special prize of 3,000 euros for the best interpretation of the Sibelius Violin Concerto. American violinist Christel Lee won the top prize and Friderike Starkloff of Germany received the third prize as well as a special prize for the best interpretation of the specially-commissioned work for the occasion.
This year’s competition received a record number of applicants — some 234 entries from 29 countries. Six finalist were selected to the final round of the competition after several preliminary stage performances.
Boston audiences may recall Tjeknavorian’s memorable performance at the 2013 Armenian Night at the Pops, where he performed the Carmen Fantasy by Fritz Waxman, as well as the film music from “Schindler’s List” with the Boston Pops under the direction of Keith Lockhart. In October of this year, Tjeknavorian appeared again with Lockhart in Vienna, in a special concert titled “Hollywood in Vienna.”
Born in Vienna, Tjeknavorian represented Austria in the 2012 Eurovision contest, and in 2013 won first prize in the Stefanie Hohl Violin Competition and first prize in the Fifth Szymon Goldberg Award competition. He was the first Austrian in the history of Fritz Kreisler Competition to make it to the final round, where he won third place. In 2013, he received the Casinos Austria Rising Start Award.
— Ara Arakelian