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Klein String Competition

Applications open on 1 November 2023 for the 2024 Irving M Klein International String Competition


Applications open online on 1 November 2023 for The Irving M Klein International String Competition, produced by the California Music Center at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 1-2 June 2024. The Klein will be streamed live as well as before a live audience at the Conservatory. Eight to nine semifinalists will compete over two days for cash prizes and performance contracts totaling 30,000 US dollars in value.

For details and to apply, visit

Logo for the Irving M Klein International String Competition

String players of any nationality, aged between fifteen and twenty-three at the time of the competition, and not currently under professional management, are eligible to compete. Applications close on 4 February 2024. A limited number of application fee waivers and scholarships will be available for applicants demonstrating financial need.

For thirty-eight years, the Klein has attracted some of the world's finest young string players to San Francisco each June to compete for cash and performance prizes. The Klein Competition has achieved international recognition as one of the most prestigious classical music competitions, recognized for the high calibre of the contestants, its unique, nurturing environment and its commitment to the commissioning of new works. John Wineglass will compose the commissioned works to receive first performances at the 2024 Klein Competition.

The competition is named for the late cellist and master teacher who devoted himself to the development of young artists. Its award carries the distinction that has helped many top soloists gain prominence in the competitive world of classical music, including Jennifer Koh, Mark Kosower, Vadim Gluzman, Jennifer Frautschi, Alban Gerhardt, Frank Huang and Robert deMaine, Francesca DePasquale, Teng Li, Oliver Herbert, David Requiro, Tessa Lark and Nikki Chooi. Laureates include principal chairs in many orchestras, including the Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras, the Buffalo, New York and LA Philharmonics, and the Boston and Pittsburgh Symphonies.

Violist Emad Zolfaghari won first prize in 2023. Admitted at sixteen, he studies with Hsin-Yun Huang and Misha Amory at the Curtis Institute of Music.

Emad Zolfaghari
Emad Zolfaghari

Violinist Audrey Goodner placed second, and violinist Ray Ushikubo won third prize. The complete 2023 competition can be viewed on the Klein's YouTube channel.

The distinguished jury will include cellist and Klein laureate Mark Kosower, principal cello of the Cleveland Orchestra and a scholar and teacher of cello; Daniel Stewart, music director of the Santa Cruz Symphony and the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra; violinist Ian Swensen, chair of violin at San Francisco Conservatory's string department; Barbara Day Turner, music director of San José Chamber Orchestra; and this year's commissioned composer John Wineglass. Additional jury members will be announced soon.

John Wineglass's compositions are inspired by the beauty of creation and the splendour of nature - as well as bringing to light past and present social justice issues. Wineglass currently serves as composer-in-residence with the Monterey Symphony. He has received commissions from the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, National Endowment for the Arts and the Alfred P Sloan and Heinz Foundations, among others. Commissioned for the Cape Symphony, his #elijah - a symphonic tribute to the life of Elijah McClain, and lost lives of many people of color at the hands of those who are entrusted to serve and protect, was recently released on Navona Records. Wineglass received his Bachelor of Music in music composition with a minor in viola performance at American University, and a Master's in music composition with an emphasis in film scoring at New York University, studying primarily with Justin Dello-Joio of the Juilliard School.

John Wineglass. Photo © Jacob Perl
John Wineglass. Photo © Jacob Perl

The Klein's presenting organization, California Music Center, was founded in 1974 by Irving M Klein, a virtuoso chamber musician and master cello teacher, as the sponsoring organization for a summer music institute and chamber music series for young artists. Following Klein's passing in 1985, CMC inaugurated the Irving M Klein International String Competition ('the Klein') in 1986. Since then, it has become one of the most prestigious events of its kind, attracting entries annually from throughout the world and helping to enhance the developing careers of players who have gone on to become renowned soloists, chamber musicians, teachers and prominent members of the world's finest orchestras.

Posted 7 October 2023 by Keith Bramich



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