Blind Accordionist surprises guests at Michael Hill Violin Comp

Blind Accordionist, Mark Wilson, joined Quarter-finalist Matthias Well on stage for his Ad Libitum performance in the 2019 Michael Hill International Violin Competition

New Zealand’s most prestigious international music competition, the Michael Hill International Violin Competition, Quarter-finals took off Queen’s Birthday weekend in Queenstown, with sixteen of the world’s best 18-27 year old violinists going head-to-head for a number of significant prizes. But, on Day 2, it was a local Queenstown Accordionist who stole the show. 

One of the most popular sections in Round 1 of the Quarter-finals is a section called Ad Libitum (“as you choose”) - the one section in which competitors get to select their own piece. The Ad Libitum round is included to give the judges the chance to see the competitors’ personalities and creativity.

Prior to arriving, vibrant German competitor Matthias Well had asked to be put in touch with a local Queenstown accordion player, to join him in performing two Russian folk songs for his Ad Libitum performance.

He was given the details for a local accordionist called Mark Wilson, who happens to be blind.

Mark agreed, and learnt the songs by ear. With only a few rehearsals, they performed together - much to the delight of the cheering audience.

There’s a snippet of the piece above, but for the full length versions of each piece, please jump here and here.

There’s also a story on Stuff here.

Accordionist Mark Wilson and Violinist Matthias Well

Accordionist Mark Wilson and Violinist Matthias Well