An Unprecedented Outcome

July 27, 2013

Erich Burnett

A week of exceptional competition among the world’s finest young violinists has culminated in an unforgettable Concerto Finals with the Cleveland Orchestra—and the first tie in Cooper history.

The last three remaining participants in the 2013 Cooper International Violin Competition made the most of their final opportunity onstage, offering outstanding performances in concert with the Cleveland Orchestra in the competition’s Concerto Finals at Severance Hall on Friday, July 26.

After more than a half-hour of jury deliberation, 16-year-old Kyumin Park of South Korea and 18-year-old William Ching-Yi Wei of Taiwan were named co-champions, marking the first tie in the four-year history of the Cooper Competition. Eighteen-year-old Ming Liu of China earned second place.

Wei and Park opened and closed the concert, respectively, with performances of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major, Opus 35; Liu played Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Opus 63. The concert was conducted by Jahja Ling, music director of the San Diego Symphony.

Narrowed from an initial field of 24 of the world’s finest young violinists, the final three performers weathered three tightly contested elimination rounds held on the Oberlin campus over five days last week.

For their shared victory, Wei and Park each will take home a grand prize of $10,000—one of the largest prizes for any international youth violin competition. Liu earns a $6,000 prize for second place. All three finalists are honored with a full scholarship to attend the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, each valued at more than $175,000.

On Wednesday night, Wei also earned the $500 Audience Prize for his Recital Final performance.

The 2013 Cooper jury consisted of a distinguished lineup of performers and educators: Stephanie Chase (New York University’s Steinhardt School), James Buswell (New England Conservatory of Music), Hui Jin (China Conservatory of Music), Stephen Erdely (professor emeritus at MIT), and Michael Malmgreen (Royal Danish Academy), in addition to Oberlin Conservatory violin faculty David Bowlin, Marilyn McDonald, and Gregory Fulkerson, who serves as jury chair and director of the competition.

About the Cooper International Competition: Presented by the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and The Cleveland Orchestra, the Thomas and Evon Cooper International Competition is held each summer for musicians ages 13 to 18, and alternates annually between violin (2013) and piano (2014). For more information, visit the competition’s home page.

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