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THE SCOOP | Canadian Cellist Andrew Byun Awarded First Prize At The Windsor Festival International String Competition

By Anya Wassenberg on March 18, 2024

Cellist Andrew Byun (Photo courtesy of the artist)
Cellist Andrew Byun (Photo courtesy of the artist)

Canadian Andrew Byun has won first prize at the Windsor Festival International String Competition, as announced late Friday. The biennial competition is designed to launch the careers of the next generation of classical music stars.

The 25-year-old Canadian cellist received the prize trophy from His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh, Patron of Windsor Festival, at Eton College following the finals performances.

The Windsor Festival International String Competition

Along with a cash prize of £5,000, Andrew wins a series of performance opportunities. That includes,

  • A solo recording opportunity with Champs Hill Records;
  • Concerto performances with several orchestras, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Orpheus Sinfonia;
  • Recital opportunities across Europe.

Dutch violinist Leon Blekh (24) received second prize and £2,000, along with the Audience Prize. Leon was intially designated as a first reserve for the semi-final round, and only found out that he would be advancing to the semi-finals two days before the event.

Third prize and £1,000 went to US-Canadian cellist Leland Ko, 25.

Jury panel members included: Japanese violinist Joji Hattori, Norwegian violist Lars Anders Tomter, British cellist Natalie Clein, festival director Martin Denny, Champs Hill executive producer Alexander Van Ingen, and James Williams, managing director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The competition,, was launched in 2008 in memory of festival founder, Yehudi Menuhin, and 2024 represented its 9th iteration (the last was held in 2021). Past winners include Jiyoon Lee, Nathan Meltzer, Jonathan Swensen and Daniil Bulayev.

You can watch the three finalists in their performance below:

Cellist Andrew Byun

A native of South Korea, Byun grew up in Canada. He studied music at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School and Milton Academy in Massachusetts, and earned a B.A. in Philosophy/Legal Studies and Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance from Northwestern University. Byun is currently studying with at the New England Conservatory in Boston.

He won the Grand Prize at the Seoul Arts Concours in 2014, followed by the Gershwin International Music Competition and Boston Trio Competition, performing with the Boston Trio, in 2015. He was a semi-finalist at the Windsor Festival International String Competition in 2021.

Both a sought after soloist and passionate chamber musician, he has performed at major European and North American concert halls and festivals, including Alice Tully Hall, Mozarteum Foundation’s Wiener Saal, Jordan Hall, the Music@Menlo International Program, Verbier Festival Soloists Academy, and La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest, among others.

Congratulations — and we’re sure we’ll be hearing much more of Andrew in the years to come.

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