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Japanese violinists edge out French in top music prize

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PARIS, Oct 24 (AFP) - Japanese violinists make up almost half the semi-finalists in a top music contest entering its last week in Paris, in which Asians have outperformed both their French and European counterparts.

Out of 16 musicians still in the running for the 30,500-euro (36, 400-dollar) first prize, seven are Japanese, two are Chinese and two South Korean.

Two French violinists -- out of an initial contingent of nine -- are competing for first place, as well as one German player, one Dutch and one Armenian, following a round of eliminations last weekend.

Forty-one violinists from 11 countries signed up for the annual Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud contest -- named after a celebrated French pianist and a violinist from the early 20th century -- which carries a total endowment of 100,000 euros.

Japanese violinist Koichiro Harada, director of the Toho Gakuen music college in Tokyo, is presiding over the international jury.

The semi-finals were to take place Monday and Tuesday at the Paris headquarters of Radio France, with the final in the recital category set for Wednesday and the concert final and awards ceremony on Saturday.

The winners will give a gala performance on October 31 at the Chatelet Theatre in central Paris.



COPYRIGHT 2005 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved.

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