The 2013 Thomas and Evon Cooper International Competition Arrives in July

June 21, 2013

Cathy Partlow Strauss ’84

A young violinist performs with an orchestra
Sirena Huang, winner of the 2011 Cooper International Violin Competition, performs with the Cleveland Orchestra, with Jahja Ling conducting.
Photo credit: Roger Mastroianni

The Oberlin Conservatory of Music and The Cleveland Orchestra are pleased to present the fourth annual Thomas and Evon Cooper International Competition, which will take place July 18-26, 2013 on the campus of Oberlin College and Conservatory and at Cleveland's Severance Hall.

Beginning July 18, two dozen of the world’s most promising young violinists will converge at Oberlin to take part in the weeklong competition, vying for three full scholarships to the Oberlin Conservatory–valued at more than $150,000 each–and more than $20,000 in prize money. On July 26, three finalists will perform a complete concerto with The Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall under the direction of conductor Jahja Ling. The audience will award an additional $500 in cash to one of the finalists, selected by popular vote.

“For an aspiring musician, there is no greater thrill than performing with one of the world's great orchestras,” says Dean of the Conservatory David H. Stull. “This gift from the Cooper family provides an extraordinary opportunity for young violinists from around the world.”

“This initiative of The Cleveland Orchestra and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music invigorates our historic relationship,” says Gary Hanson, Executive Director of the Cleveland Orchestra. “We look forward to welcoming these gifted young musicians to Cleveland.”

Selected through video auditions in April, competition participants range in age from 14 to 18 and hail from China, Sweden, South Korea, Taiwan, and all corners of the United States. They will be critiqued by a jury made up of distinguished performers and educators: Stephanie Chase (New York University’s Steinhardt School), James Buswell (New England Conservatory of Music), Hui Jin (China Conservatory of Music), and Michael Malmgreen (Royal Danish Academy), in addition to Oberlin Conservatory violin faculty David Bowlin, Marilyn McDonald, and Gregory Fulkerson.

Fulkerson, a professor of violin at Oberlin Conservatory, is the chair of the jury for this year's violin competition. “I am very proud that Oberlin, with the outstanding commitment of the Cooper family, supports the discovery and promotion of violin stars of the next generation,” he says. “I am especially excited about Oberlin's unique partnership with The Cleveland Orchestra, which provides the ideal format for what is recognized as a major international competition.”

Preliminary rounds and Recital Finals, held on the Oberlin campus, are free and open to the public. Box seats for the Concerto Finals are $25, dress circle seats are $20, and orchestra seats are $15. All seats are reserved. The Severance Hall ticket office is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; call 216-231-1111 or 800-686-1141 for more information or visit In addition, complimentary admission is available for students; call 440-775-8200 to learn more.

Recital Finals at Oberlin and Concerto Finals at Severance Hall will be hosted by Robert Conrad, president of WCLV 104.9 FM, Cleveland's classical music radio station. Both events will be broadcast live on WCLV and on

For more information, including a complete schedule and participant biographies, visit the Cooper International Competition website.

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