PARIS, Oct 30 (AFP) - The first prize in this year's prestigious Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud violin competition was awarded Saturday night to Dutch competitor Frederieke Saeijs, 26, who first picked up her violin at the age of seven.
A former student at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague, Saeijs beat 40 fellow violinists to the top award, 21 of whom were from Asia, and will take home a handsome 45,000 euros (54,400 US dollars) in prize money as well as several performance bookings.
As well as the overall 30,500-euro first prize, she won three special prizes for the best interpretation of contemporary work (6,100 euros), the best concerto interpretation (6,100 euros) and a prize from students of Paris music schools (2,300 euros).
The National Orchestra of France, which accompanied the final concerto round of the competition at the Paris headquarters of Radio France on Saturday, selected her as its top finalist after her rendition of Alban Berg's concerto and has asked her to perform again.
Saeijs currently studies with Maurizio Fuks at the Indiana University school of music.
The international jury, headed by the director of Tokyo's Toho Gakuen music academy Koichiro Harada, handed the 15,200-euro second prize to Japan's Shion Minami aged just 16, who also picked up the SACEM prize for best finalist recital worth 3,000 euros.
The third "Bordeaux city" prize and 6,100 euros went to Armenian player Haik Kazazyan, aged 23, who won the public's vote in the concerto round.
The winners of the competition -- named after a celebrated French pianist and a violinist from the early 20th century -- will give a gala performance on October 31 at the Chatelet Theatre in central Paris.
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