Park ICM Student to Compete in Prestigious Queen Elisabeth Violin Competition

CONTACT: Ellen McDonald

KANSAS CITY, MO (March 15, 2019) — Roger Kugler, Director of the Park International Center for Music, confirmed today that Park ICM violin master’s candidate Laurel Gagnon was among the competitors announced Wednesday by the jurors of the Queen Elisabeth Violin Competition. The 82-year-old competition is held every four years in Brussels and begins on April 29th, 2019. “Laurel’s invitation to participate in this year’s Queen Elisabeth competition is a testament to her exceptional talent, work ethic and extraordinary dedication to her art,” said Dr. Kugler. “She is one of only nine competitors from the United States. Thus we are very excited and pleased that the International Center for Music at Park University has a student representing the University and the Kansas City metro in the most prestigious violin competition in the world.”

Each competitor is invited to submit a video audition. From a total of 172 violinists, the jury whittled the field to 71 candidates, 49 women and 22 men representing 20 different nationalities. They will compete for a grand prize of $25,000 in three rounds, culminating in a final during which the candidates will perform a concerto and compulsory work composed for the 2019 competition.

Laurel Gagnon is rapidly establishing herself as one of the most gifted American violinists of her generation. Her garnering of Fourth Prize at the Singapore International Violin Competition, considered Asia’s “Grand Prix” for the world’s best emerging violinists, was just the most recent in a series of competition appearances. The Straits Times wrote, of her Singapore performances, that she “made the violin sing with a naturalness that was both disarming and distinctive,” adding that “her show of delicacy and restraint was admirable as were the very idiomatic cadenzas.”

In 2013 Gagnon began her studies with Lithuanian violinist Ben Sayevich at Park University’s International Center for Music, where in 2017 she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance. Currently she is continuing her studies with Professor Sayevich at ICM, toward a master’s degree in Violin Performance. She performs on the 1719 Carlo Tononi violin, provided on a three-year loan from the Rin Collection.

The inaugural Queen Elisabeth Music Competition in 1937 was devoted to the violin. The first piano competition took place the year after. Singing was added in 1988 and, in 2017, the competition was opened to cellists. The winner of the 2015 competition was South Korean violinist Ji Young Lim.

ABOUT PARK INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR MUSIC – Park ICM was established ( at Park University in 2003. This All-Steinway School trains and educates the next generation of accomplished musicians in a focused and creative atmosphere with an international faculty of renowned excellence. Park ICM offers degree, certificate and diploma programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Our courses of study are focused in the areas of performance in violin, viola, cello and piano. At the core of all ICM programs is one-on-one studio instruction providing vital interactions between the student and master faculty, now in its 15th season. This extremely exclusive music academy selects just 30 students each year to study in the historic European apprenticeship tradition. Park’s amazing campus provides focused and uninterrupted practice time 24-hours daily in a serene and extremely supportive environment. The master faculty also coaches musicianship and career development so that the students will become award-winning musicians, traveling the world and entertaining the most discerning music lovers across all continents.

Visit for more information about Park ICM’s students, faculty and performance season. High-resolution photos can be obtained by contacting the Park ICM Director, Lisa Hickok.

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Please direct all media inquiries to Ellen McDonald
816-213-4355 or

2020-08-13T16:17:17+00:00 March 20th, 2019|Press, Students in Concert|