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Israeli Youth Wins First Prize in Music Contest in Washington

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Shmuel Ashkenasi, a 17-year-old Israeli violinist, today won first prize in the international Merriweather Post Contest sponsored by the National Symphony Orchestra here. He competed against 353 other contestants. The first prize consists of a $2,000 cash award and a guest appearance with the National Symphony in full concert in Constitution Hall.

The contest was open only to youths who have not yet finished high school but who are able to play a complete concerto from the standard symphonic repertory. Ashkenasi played the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D.

Born in Tel Aviv, Ashkenasi is in the United States as a student at the Curtis Institute of Music. His parents, residents of Holon, Israel, did not know that he was in the contest. He did not want them to worry about the competition and his chances.

He began study of the violin at the age of eight at the Tel Aviv Academy of Music under Miss Ilona-Feher. He has performed with the Kol Israel Orchestra. At the Curtis Institute he studies under Efrem Zimbalist.

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