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Kao Han-Yen wins Belgian International Marimba Competition

Kao Han-Yen wins Belgian International Marimba Competition
Kao Han-Yen, a 4th year student of the music department at Taipei National University of the Arts, won the first prize in the Universal Marimba Competition & Festival 2013 held in Sint-Truiden in Belgium from July 22 to 26. The second and third prizes were won by Croatian and Japanese players respectively. The Belgium Marimba Competition, which is held biannually, is one of the most important international music competitions. This year over 70 contestants from over 21 countries took part. Taiwan was represented by almost 20 musicians, including Kao Han-Yen and Hsieh Hsien-De both of whom were selected to take part in the semi-final.

Kao Han-Yen’s performance was the best yet by a musician from Taiwan: he not only won the first prize at this prestigious event, but he also won the Viewers Choice Award. This is something which rarely occurs and indeed makes him a shining light of Taiwan. As part of his first prize, Kao will receive an Adams Artist Ludwig marimba and free recording sessions at the Academic Hall in Sint-Truiden. The competition organizers will also help Kao participate in other international festivals and perform at the laureate recital at the 2015 Universal Marimba Festival.

The Director of the Education Division, Huei-wen Hsu, met with Kao Han-Yen on August 1 to congratulate him on behalf of the Ministry of Education and of the Taipei Representative Office in the EU & Belgium. Kao Han-Yen expressed his gratitude towards his teachers who encouraged his participation, and how happy he felt to have experienced the competition and how grateful for the opportunity to broaden his horizons. Director Hsu suggested that he share details of his experience with his university peers and encourage them to also participate in international competitions. This would not only enrich their music education but also increase Taiwan’s musical profile in the world.