The 29th annual Irving M. Klein International String Competition on June 7–8

Sunday, May 11, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO, May 12, 2014 — A youth movement is afoot for the 29th annual Irving M. Klein International String Competition, taking place June 7 – 8 at San Francisco State University. Seven of this year’s eight semifinalists are still in their teens, and only two are old enough to buy a lottery ticket.

Seven of eight semifinalists are still in high school

Mitchell Sardou Klein, artistic director of the competition since its inception in 1986, said he is delighted that younger applicants are proving their mettle.

“This year’s semifinalists represent the new generation of classical music, where virtuosity and passion are more important than ever,” Klein said. “We are seeing more children and teenagers pursue music careers and setting the bar even higher. They will take music to new, indescribable heights, and much of it starts here at the Klein Competition.”

This year’s grand prize, given in memory of Marvin T. Tepperman, includes cash and performances with the Peninsula and Santa Cruz symphonies, Gualala Arts Chamber Music Series, Music in the Vineyards, Noontime Concerts and other performances. The grand prize is valued at $13,000.

This year’s semifinalists were selected from a record 117 entrants from 12 countries and the nation’s top conservatories. The semifinalists are:

  • Zlatomir Fung, 15, cellist. He studies with Richard Aaron and attends Oak Meadow School in Brattleboro, Vermont.
  • Luke Hsu, 23, violinist. He studies with Donald Weilerstein at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.
  • Kyumin Park, 17, violinist. He studies with Kowoon Yang and attends Kyunghee University in Seoul, South Korea.
  • Charles Seo, 18, cellist. He studies with Brinton Avril Smith and attends High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston.
  • Lauren Siess, 17, violist. She studies with Helen Callus and attends Colburn School Young Artists Academy in Los Angeles.
  • Jeremy Tai, 15, cellist. He studies with Jonathan Koh and attends St. Francis High School in Mountain View.
  • Lucie Ticho, 16, cellist. She studies with Tanya Carey and attends Hinsdale Central High School in Hinsdale, Illinois.
  • Angela Wee, 17, violinist. She studies with Masao Kawasaki and attends The Juilliard School’s Pre-College Division in New York.

Fung, Seo, Tai, Ticho and Wee are also semifinalists at the Stulberg International String Competition, scheduled for May 17 in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

In the semifinal round, each performer will play an unaccompanied work of Bach, movements from notable concertos and a new commissioned composition by San Francisco Symphony Assistant Concertmaster Mark Volkert. In the final round, the artists must perform additional portions of their selected concerto and one major sonata movement.

Second prize is valued at $5,000. It includes an appearance at the San José Chamber Orchestra. Ruth Short gives this prize in honor of Elaine H. Klein.

Third prize, given in memory of Alice Anne Roberts, is $2,500. Two fourth prizes, one given by Lavilla Berry in memory of her husband Thomas and the other by Loretta O’Connell in memory of Harry Adams, are $1,250 each. Each semifinalist not awarded a named prize will receive $750. Awards each will also be given for best performance of the commissioned work and the solo Bach.

Klein winners also receive the opportunity to make presentations and conduct master classes at schools on the Peninsula and in San Francisco.

The distinguished jury includes past Klein first-prize winners Cathy Basrak (1995, viola), Jennifer Frautschi (1991, violin) and Robert deMaine (1989, cello) as well as Melvin Margolis, Donna Mudge, Alice Schoenfeld, Barbara Day Turner, Volkert and Alexander String Quartet cellist Sandy Wilson.

On June 6 at 4 p.m., Basrak, deMaine and Volkert will participate in a panel discussion titled “Orchestrating a Career in an Orchestra (and Other Amazing Classical Feats!).” They will discuss the challenging and frequently misunderstood life of the orchestra musician: auditions, balancing personal/professional interests and more. Mitchell Sardou Klein will serve as moderator. Admission to the panel discussion is free.

More information about this event

Media Contact: 

Matt Itelson, 415-338-1442,, College of Liberal and Creative Arts, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, California 94132

News Release