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Cooper International Competition Returns to Oberlin July 25-31, 2015

June 30, 2015

Erich Burnett

Young violinist performs with orchestra
Photo credit: Roger Mastroianni

Exceptional young artists hailing from seven countries and across America come together at Oberlin July 25-31 for the sixth-annual Thomas and Evon Cooper International Competition for violin.

Presented by the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Cleveland Orchestra, the 2015 Cooper Competition features 21 musicians ranging in age from 14 to 18, each of them vying for a top prize of $10,000 and three full-tuition scholarships to attend the Oberlin Conservatory.

The competition begins with five days of performances on the Oberlin campus: Semifinal Rounds Saturday through Monday, July 25-27; a Concerto Round on Tuesday, July 28; and Recital Finals on Wednesday, July 29.

The excitement culminates with the Concerto Finals at Severance Hall on Friday, July 31, as three finalists each perform a complete concerto with the Cleveland Orchestra, under the direction of Jahja Ling.

All performances at Oberlin—including an Honors Recital on Thursday, July 30—take place in Warner Concert Hall and are free and open to the public. Tickets for the Concerto Finals at Severance Hall range from $15-$25 and are available through the Cleveland Orchestra by calling 800-686-1141 or visiting Complimentary admission is available for students.

Selected through video auditions, this year’s Cooper participants represent China, South Korea, Australia, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, and the United States. Each participant will be critiqued by a jury made up of distinguished performers and pedagogues including Oberlin violin faculty Gregory Fulkerson (co-director and jury chair), David Bowlin (co-director), and Marilyn McDonald. Also on the jury are five venerable teachers from throughout the world: Norwegian violinist and educator Peter Herresthal, Seattle Conservatory of Music founder and director Margaret Pressley, Austrian performer and educator Dora Schwarzberg, Central Conservatory of Music Professor Tong Weidong, and Northwestern University Professor Almita Vamos.

Jury members will present a total of eight master classes—all of them free and open to the public—in Oberlin's Clonick Hall on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, July 28-30.

Follow Oberlin Conservatory on Facebook and Twitter for updates throughout the competition.

Cleveland's public radio station WCLV 104.9 FM will broadcast the Recital Finals live from Oberlin (7 p.m. Wednesday, July 29) and the Concerto Finals live from Severance Hall (8 p.m. Friday, July 31).

For more information, including a complete schedule and participant information, visit

ABOUT THE COOPER COMPETITION: Sponsored by Thomas and Evon Cooper, the Cooper International Competition debuted in summer 2010 for pianists, followed in 2011 by a competition for violinists; the competition alternates annually between the two instruments. Both formats are open to musicians between the ages of 13 and 18. Mr. Cooper is a 1978 Oberlin College graduate and a member of Oberlin’s Board of Trustees; his wife, Evon, is a pianist and private piano teacher. They reside near Boston.

OBERLIN AND THE CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA: The relationship between Oberlin and the Cleveland Orchestra dates back nearly a century, beginning with the philanthropy of John Long Severance, an 1885 Oberlin graduate and flutist who founded the Musical Arts Association, under which the Cleveland Orchestra was established in 1918. Severance and his wife were major donors for the construction of the Cleveland Orchestra’s home, Severance Hall. The Cleveland Orchestra first performed at Oberlin in 1919, and has returned each season since—totaling more than 200 performances to date.

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