The 28th annual Irving M. Klein International String Competition on June 8–9

Monday, April 29, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, April 30, 2013 — At the 28th annual Irving M. Klein International String Competition on June 8–9 at San Francisco State University, semifinalists will benefit from an empathetic mentor. Tessa Lark, winner of the 2008 Klein Competition and 2012 Naumburg International Violin Competition, will help guide the eight young musicians through their challenges and triumphs.

Past winners return to mentor semifinalists, emcee the competition, serve on jury

Lark will also serve as an emcee at the competition, one of the world’s finest events of its kind. Former winners Richard Hirschl (third prize, 1988), now cellist for the Chicago Symphony, and Frank Huang (first prize, 1999), the Houston Symphony’s violinist and concertmaster, return to serve on the jury.

Mitchell Sardou Klein, artistic director of the competition since its inception in 1986, is excited about the return of the past prizewinners.

“We have always strived to make this competition not only the best in the world, but also the most supportive,” Klein said. “This year’s semifinalists will love learning from our past winners, who are valued members of our Klein Competition community.”

This year’s grand prize, given in memory of Marvin T. Tepperman, includes concerto performances with the Peninsula Symphony Orchestra, Marin Symphony and San Jose Chamber Orchestra, as well as appearances with Noontime Concerts (San Francisco) and Music in the Vineyards (Napa Valley). The grand prize is valued at $14,400, including $5,000 cash.

This year’s semifinalists were selected from a record 97 entrants from 10 countries and the nation’s top conservatories. The semifinalists are:

  • Brannon Cho, 18, cellist born in East Brunswick, N.J. He studies with Hans Jorgen Jensen and attends Milburn High School in Millburn, N.J.
  • Dana Kelley, 22, violist born in Syracuse, N.Y. She studies with Kim Kashkashian and attends to the New England Conservatory of Music.
  • Youjin Lee, 17, violinist born in South Korea. She studies with Robert Lipsett and Danielle Belen at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles.
  • Kevin Lin, 20, violinist born in New York. He studies with Lipsett at the Colburn Conservatory of Music.
  • Wyatt Underhill, 22, violinist born in Elm Grove, Wis. He studies with Gregory Fulkerson at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
  • Tavi Ungerleider, 23, cellist born in Concord, Mass. He studies with Joel Krosnick at The Juilliard School.
  • Yanghe Yu, 23, violinist born in China. He studies with Wei He at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
  • Sarina Zhang, 17, cellist born in Canada. She studies with Richard Aaron and David Finckel at The Juilliard School Pre-College Division.

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

Second prize is valued at $4,250. It includes $3,000 cash and a solo recital at the Gualala Arts Chamber Music Series. 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 Dexter and Kathie Lowry and the other Loretta O’Connell in honor of Harry Adams, are $1,250 each. Each semifinalist not awarded a named prize will receive $750. Awards 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.

In addition to Hirschl and Huang, the distinguished jury includes Friedman, Alan Grishman, Donna Mudge, Melvin Margolis, Alice Schoenfeld and Barbara Day Turner.

This year’s competition will also honor the memory of Marc Gottlieb, a longtime Klein Competition judge who played violin with Irving Klein in the Claremont String Quartet. Gottlieb died April 21 at age 82.

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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