Three Japanese musicians win top prizes in Geneva quartet event

Japanese violinist Kaya Kato Moller’s Novo Quartet won first prize Sunday in an international competition for young musicians in Switzerland.

Two Japanese were also among members of one of the string quartets placing joint second at the Geneva International Music Competition — violinist Fuga Miwatashi and violist Emiko Yuasa of Quartett Hana.

Kato Moller, 25, said after the awards ceremony that she was “so happy” and that the result was “like a bonus.”

The Novo Quartet was awarded 20,000 Swiss francs (¥3.3 million) while the two quartets coming second were awarded 12,000 Swiss francs each.


Founded in Copenhagen in 2018, members of the Novo Quartet currently study at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. Kato Moller, who has a Japanese mother and Danish father, said she would like to perform in Japan.

Yuasa, 27, and Miwatashi, 27, from the Quartett Hana are graduates of the Toho girls’ high school in Tokyo and now study at the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich.

While Yuasa was disappointed her quartet finished second, Miwatashi called the competition a “precious experience.”

“Preparing for a lot of programs and performing in this competition is something that I will never forget my whole life,” she said.

The Geneva competition, founded in 1939 to promote young talented musicians, is considered a springboard to an international career.

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