Yuying Chen wins the 19th International Harp Contest in Israel


We’re following the 19th International Harp Contest in Israel via our correspondent Sunita Staneslow. Check here for updates throughout the competition.

Dec. 3, 2015, 11:15 p.m.

Yuying Chen of China is the winner of the 19th International Harp Contest in Israel! Anaelle Tourett of France received second prize and Eva Tomsic of Slovenia won third prize. Congratulations to all the competitors!

Israel-winner Israel-winner-2 Israel-winner-3

Dec. 3, 2015, 10:45 p.m.

The Three finalists have performed. The state is being set for the awards ceremony. Now we wait. Shouldn’t be long!


Dec. 3, 2015, 7:30 p.m.

The concert hall is almost full in the town of Akko where the three finalists will play both the Maayani and the Parish Alvars concertos with the Haifa Symphony. Stay tuned for the results!


Nov. 30, 2015


Today was the third stage of the Contest. Six harpists performed chamber music with a string quartet. The three finalists are:

Anaelle Tourett, France
Yuying Chen, China
Eva Tomsic, Slovenia

“It was a hot evening between rain and lightening, and it was difficult to keep the harps in tune,” says Sunita. “There was some great playing, and it was not easy to select only three for the finals. The final round will take place Dec. 3 with the Haifa Symphonic Orchestra, Doron Salomon conducting. Stay tuned for the final results on Thursday!

Nov. 28, 2015

Six contestants were selected to compete in the Stage 3 Semi-Finals on Monday:

Adina HarOz introduces the competitors

Adina HarOz introduces the competitors

Alexandra Katelyn Mullins, USA
Eva Tomsic, Slovenia
Hinako Hara, Japan
Luiza Mintsaeva, Russia
Anaelle Tourret, France
Yuying Chen, China

“This is the first time that the Contest has been held in the coastal city of Akko, just half an hour north of Haifa,” says Sunita. “Akko has the distinction of being named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. I drove to the Old City of Akko and walked through the ancient entrance, a garden with trees and sculptures and entered the museum of the Knights Halls. It was a step back in time and as if I entered another world. Built during the Crusades, the Knights Halls are absolutely stunning. The first stages of the Contest are held in one of these halls, and appropriately named the Beautiful Hall.

“I listened to all five contestants today. Five 45 minute recitals and hearing the different styles and interpretations was interesting. The room was filled, especially in the afternoon session and because we are all in one room and not separated by a large stage in a concert hall, you can feel the energy and notice subtle differences. Everyone looked beautiful when they played, but you could tell who was more nervous, who sweat, who breathed more. I loved being up close and personal although it must be hard for the contestants. I’ve picked my personal favorites and will follow them through the rest of the stages. Maybe because we are all in a room and not separated by a large hall, I feel more engaged. There is excitement in the air. Family and friends are in the audience around you and giving support. Other harpists come to listen after they have performed. There is something special about the International Harp Contest in Israel. I felt this sense of camaraderie between the harpists three years ago in the last Contest. Maybe there is a bond created by just making the journey to Israel. Also, the repertoire is difficult and long. There are pros and cons to this. It takes time and a very high level of technique and good memorization skills. This leaves some out from the beginning. Yet the Contest has an amazing track record of winners. I heard some gorgeous performances today–both musically and technically. I am looking forward to Monday when they perform in the Chamber Music Concerts (my personal favorite).

Nov 27, 2015

Eleven contestants passed to the second stage:

Alexandra Katelyn Mullins, USA
Tomsic Eva, Slovenia
Daunyte Joana, Lithuania
Hinako Hara, Japan
Sidyagina Oksana, Russia
Liao Chu-Heng, Taiwan
Mintsaeva Luiza, Russia
Borka Hanna, Hungary
Gu Feier, China
Tourret Anaelle, France
Chen Yuying, China

“This is the first time the [contest] has been held in the northern coastal town of Akko,” says Sunita Staneslow. “It is a beautiful town and the events are near the old city. The hall was packed [for the opening concert]and the energy was great. The competitors were already in small friendly clusters and making friends. Susann McDonald was honored with a lifetime achievement award. A new tradition and a great idea.”

First Stage performance order:

Alexandra Katelyn Mullins, USA
Wei-Ching Tseng, Taiwan
Eva Tomsic, Slovenia
Sylvana Labeyrie, France
Joana Daunyte, Lithuania
Hinako Hara, Japan
Clemence Boinot, France
Antonina Geronimus (Rychkova), Russia
Oksana Sidyagina, Russia
Marie Zimmer, France
Chu-Heng Liao, Taiwan
Marina Roznitovsky (Oster), Israel
Luiza Mintsaeva, Russia
Hanna Borka, Hungary
Haley Rhodeside, USA
Feier Gu, China
Anaelle Tourret, France
Jenna Vergeynst, Belgium
Yuying Chen, China



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