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33rd Annual Irving M. Klein International String Competition      

June 2 – 3, 2018, San Francisco

The first prize of the 33rd Annual Irving M. Klein International String Competition, carrying a purse of $13,000, has been awarded to violinist ALEX ZHOU.  The Competition Finals were held Sunday, June 3rd at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and featured three competitors advancing from the Semifinals the previous day, an original group of nine. Alex’s winning program for the final round included movements from the Bach Sonata No. 1 in G Minor, Mozart’s Sonata No. 18 in G Major and the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D Major, op. 35.

Second prize went to JULIAN RHEE (violin, 17). He is a student of Almita Vamos at the Music Institute of Chicago.  Julian also won both the prize for the Best Performance of the Commissioned Work, and the Pablo Casals Prize for the best performance of the solo Bach work.

Third prize went to ISABELLE AI DURRENBERGER (violin, 19). She attends Cleveland Institute of Music and is a student of Jaime Laredo and Jinjoo Cho.

Two players won 4th prizes: Sophia Su, violin, 16; attends The Juilliard School, New York; student of Masao Kawasaki and Jean Kim, cello, 22, who attends Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia; student of Carter Brey and Peter Wiley.

Celebrating 33 years of helping the world’s top young string musicians gain prominence in the competitive world of classical music, the Irving M. Klein International String Competition returns to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music June 2 -3, 2018. Selected from 85 entrants from 14 countries, this year’s nine semifinalists showcased the burgeoning talent from the top teachers and conservatories in America.  The semifinalists included these fine players:

  • Paolo Dara, violin, 20; attends Cleveland Institute of Music; student of Jaime Laredo.
  • Jean Kim, cello, 22, attends Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia; student of Carter Brey and Peter Wiley.
  • Angela Ryu, violin, 18; attends Mount Royal Conservatory, Calgary Alberta; student of William van der Sloot.
  • Davis You, cello, 16; attends Palo Alto High School; student of Jonathan Koh.
  • Hua Zhang, violin, 21; attends Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Bloomington IN; student of Kevork Mardirossian.

In the semifinal round, each performer played an unaccompanied work of Bach, movements from notable concertos and a new commissioned composition by David Froom.  In the final round, the artists performed additional portions of their selected concerto and one major sonata movement.

The distinguished jury included violinist Glenn Dicterow, former concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic and on faculty at the USC Thornton School of Music; violist Karen Dreyfus, who also teaches at the Thornton School; this year’s commissioned composer, David Froom; Janet Horvath, violist and authority on injury prevention for performing artists; Mel Margolis, Music Director and Conductor at Fine Arts Chamber Orchestra; violinist Ian Swensen, Chair of Violin at SF Conservatory’s String Department; and Barbara Day Turner, Music Director of San José Chamber Orchestra.

The Irving M. Klein International String Competition, presented by California Music Center and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, is open to musicians between ages 15 and 23, who compete for cash prizes totaling over $30,000 and performance contracts with our presenting partners. The Klein has achieved international recognition as one of the most prestigious classical music competitions, recognized for the high caliber of the contestants; its unique, nurturing environment; and its commitment to the commissioning of new works. Read the complete release HERE.

Jeremy Tai, a freshman cello student of Northwestern’s Bienen School professor Hans Jensen, won the 2017 first prize.

 Congratulations to the 2018 Winners

Alex Zhou, violin

Amnon Goldworth Memorial 1st Prize: Alex Zhou, violin
Elaine H. Klein 2nd Prize: Julian Rhee, violin
Milton Preves Memorial 3rd Prize: Isabelle Ai Durrenberger, violin
4th Prize: Jean Kim, cello
Jerry Lee Klein Memorial 4th Prize: Sophia SU, violin
Allen R. and Susan E. Weiss Memorial Prize for Best Performance of the Commissioned Work: Julian Rhee, violin
Pablo Casals Prize for Best Performance of Solo Bach, in memory of Harry Adams: Julian Rhee, violin

Photos by Carlin Ma

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September 8 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm