Jeremy Tai, 2017 1st Prizewinner at Santa Cruz Symphony Jan 2019

Julian Rhee, Alex Zhou, Isabelle Ai Durrenberger

Violin Masterclass with Nikki Chooi

Violinist Nikki Chooi, 1st prize winner 2009


Applications to the 2019 Klein Competition Now Open!

Entries open online only November 10, 2018 and must be submitted by February 2, 2019. There is a non-refundable entry fee of $125 payable by PayPal/credit card at time of application, or a check or money order made payable to California Music Center to be received no later than February 8, 2019.  

To complete the online application,  SIGN UP FOR A NEW SUBMITTABLE ACCOUNT OR SIGN INTO YOUR CURRENT ACCOUNT (signup link in application guidelines), and apply as below by the February 2, 2019 deadline.  Note that to receive email notification of the status of your application, you must OPT-IN in your account settings.

Your application should include:
1.  A high-quality audio recording of three contrasting selections of approximately 10 minutes each (with clock timings – please include complete movements, even if they are longer than 10 minutes) in ONE file.  Please read complete guidelines below.
2.  A photocopy of proof of age (valid driver’s license, passport, or birth certificate)

3.  Payment:  PAY $125 application fee at time of application online by PayPal or credit card  OR send a check or money order for $125 payable to the CALIFORNIA MUSIC CENTER to:  PO Box 460095,  San Francisco, CA 94146 to be received by February 8, 2019.
  Your application is the Jury’s first opportunity to experience you as an artist. While conforming to the requirements, you should also strive to give those who will hear it a comprehensive picture of your musical personality, in addition to demonstrating technical mastery of your instrument.
Your recording must have 3 separate works represented in ONE file, appearing in this order (please include complete movements, even if they are longer than 10 minutes):
TRACK 1:  Unaccompanied Bach  (approximately 10 minutes)
  Choose one or more movements of unaccompanied Bach appropriate to your instrument, approximately 10 minutes in total, although a longer selection is certainly fine, particularly if you are submitting the Chaconne or one of the longer fugues. Violists are welcome to choose from either the cello Suites or the violin Sonatas and Partitas. If you wish, you may submit movements from more than one work; be sure that this is clear when you submit the recording.
TRACK 2:  Concerto  (approximately 10 minutes)
  Choose one movement of any Classical, Romantic, or major 20th-21st century concerto for your instrument. Submit a recording of approximately 10 minutes with piano accompaniment only. Submissions of concertos with orchestral accompaniment will be disqualified.
TRACK 3:  20th-21st Century  (approximately 10 minutes)
  This requirement is intended to demonstrate to the Jury how you handle the challenges presented by music of your own time, in a modern compositional language. Compositions by Debussy, Ravel, Ysaÿe, and Kreisler are specifically excluded and may not be used to fulfill this requirement. Additionally, works such as Franz Waxman’s Carmen Fantasie and the Sibelius Violin Concerto, while technically written after the beginning of the 20th century, do not meet the spirit of this requirement and are not acceptable.
  If you have any questions as to the suitability of a particular work, you (or your teacher or other representative) may submit your question to info@kleincompetition.org and it will be passed on to the Jury anonymously for a determination. As with the concerto requirement, this approximately 10 minute selection should be submitted with piano accompaniment. Unaccompanied works are also acceptable in this category. Movements from multiple 20th/21st C works are not acceptable; all movements must be from the same composition.  Please review the repertoire list for guidance.


  • Each work may fulfill only one category requirement. A Prokofiev Concerto, for example, can fulfill the concerto requirement, or the 20th-21st century requirement, but not both. Do not include anything other than these 3 works on your recording.
  • Your application will be best served by using the highest quality recording equipment, environment, and media that are available to you. 
  • We accept the following formats: MP3, WAV, AAC, AIFF, M4A, OGG, FLAC OR WMA.
  • You must include clock timings (e.g., 09:45) for each work or movement submitted.
  • All recordings submitted must have been made within the last 12 months. You may not perform on two instruments within a single application (e.g. both violin and viola).


  • Works that do not fulfill one of the 3 specified requirements (e.g. encore pieces, sonata movements unless in fulfillment of the 20th-21st century requirement). The jury will not listen to them.
  • Recordings of concertos with orchestral accompaniment. Your entry will be disqualified.
  • Biographies, letters of recommendation, performance reviews, or photos. 
  • Any identification (name, etc) in your uploaded audio file names.  Contestants must remain anonymous to the jury during the review process.

Applications are now open for the 34th annual Irving M. Klein International String Competition to be held at the San Francisco Conservatory of  Music in San Francisco CA, June 1-2, 2019. Nine outstanding international players will be invited to San Francisco to take part in the semifinals round Saturday, June 1st, with 3 finalists competing on Sunday June 2nd for cash prizes and performances contracts totaling $30,000.

Violinists, violists, cellists and bassists age 15 to 23 of any nationality not currently under professional management are eligible to compete.

Carlos Oliver Simon has been selected as the 2019 Composer for the Commissioned Works Program.  Each semifinalist will be required to perform a composition written especially for the Competition.  Read the full press release HERE.

Applications to be received by Saturday, February 2, 2019. For more details visit  kleincompetition.org

 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

 Upcoming Events

Davis You, Noontime Concerts

December 11 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

VIOLIN Masterclass with Nikki Chooi

December 11 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm