South Korean violinist Yang In-mo, 27, won the top prize at the 12th International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition, which ended on Sunday in Helsinki, Finland.
This is the first time that a South Korean violinist won the competition. Yang was also awarded the best interpretation award, which is given to the violinist who best performed the mandated piece. The second place went to Nathan Meltzer of the U.S. and the third place to Dmytro Udovychenko of Ukraine. The competition was held after being postponed by two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an exclusive interview with The Dong-A Ilbo, Yang said he decided to enter the competition as he loved the color the Sibelius competition has, adding that he felt the competition was closer to the essence of music. As for the piece by Lindberg, which awarded him the best interpretation award, Yang said his experience of having seen Lindberg’s concerto performance firsthand helped him interpret the piece better.
Yang said he took time to walk in the forest to feel Finland, the country of Sibelius, during the competition. “Sibelius’ music presents Mother Nature as it is. As I was one of the oldest among the participants, I tried to create a challenging program,” Yang said. “I don’t think I’m going to enter competitions anymore. I intend to focus on my performances.”
Yang made his debut at the 2008 Kumho Young Artist Concert and won the 2014 Concert Artists Guild Competition. In 2015, he won the top prize at the Paganini International Violin Competition held in Genoa, Italy.