ICM student places fourth in Singapore competition

Graduate student Laurel Gagnon made waves at the Singapore International Violin Competition by placing fourth among 30 handpicked contestants from around the world. On top of that, it was her international debut.
“We found out our exact placement when we had the awards ceremony after the grand final, and I didn’t play in the grand final because there were only three people. So, I knew I was placing somewhere between fourth through sixth,” said Gagnon.
Gagnon’s success was built on months of practicing and preparing for the event after being handpicked through prescreened, blind auditions.
“I found out in the middle of October and the live rounds started in the end of January. So, I basically had three months to prepare,” said Gagnon. The violinist chose from a list of songs that would suit her strengths as a musician and show off her best performance.
During the competition Gagnon continued to maintain her composure round after round even though there would be days between performing and finding out the results of each round.
“I had to wait two days to hear the results. I think that was worse than the nerves performing, was the waiting,” said Gagnon. Each of the following rounds she played in following the same structure. Perform. Practice for the next round. Wait. See the results. Perform. Repeat until her final performance in the final round.
The competition had dwindled down to six, with Gagnon being one of those last remaining violinists. In the final round she played a Mozart Concerto with the conservatory orchestra.
“I don’t get to play with an orchestra very often so it was pretty special,” said Gagnon.
Gagnon would find out soon after her performance that she wouldn’t advance to the grand finals, but would place between fourth and sixth. At the award ceremony she was awarded fourth place and, with it, the $6,000 fourth place prize and her choice of a Rin Collection violin , one of over 500 string instruments collected by Rin Kei Mei a successful businessman. She choose a Carlo Tononi violin from 1719.
“It’s pretty surreal; I don’t if it’s sunk in yet. I didn’t expect anything like this, so I’m really honored, happy and excited and really proud for my teacher,” said Gagnon when asked about how she felt about placing fourth in her first international competition.
To hear more about Gagnon’s experience competing on the international stage, please go to stylusonline.org to watch the video interview.