Teenage violin prodigies will compete this July in the 2017 Thomas and Evon Cooper International Competition.
Ranging from 14 to 18 in age, they hail from eight countries and eight U.S. states.
Now in its eighth year, the Cooper Competition offers a grand prize of $20,000 in addition to second and third prizes of $10,000 and $5,000. Each finalist’s prize package also includes a full four-year tuition scholarship to attend the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
In addition to the top prizes, the competition awards $1,500 to each of the fourth- through sixth-place finishers and also grants an Audience Prize of $500.
The total purse of $40,000 represents the highest-valued prize package of any competition for this age group.
“Since its founding, the Cooper Competition has been synonymous with outstanding performances from the world’s most talented young musicians,” said Oberlin dean of the Conservatory Andrea Kalyn. “We are proud to reward their artistry with one of the most lucrative prize packages of any international youth competition anywhere, and we are forever grateful to Thomas and Evon Cooper and the Cleveland Orchestra for their enthusiastic support every step of the way.”
Many performance rounds are free and open to the public at Warner Concert Hall, with free parking adjacent to 45 South Professor St. They will also be streamed live at new.oberlin.edu/conservatory/webcast.
These include semifinals from 1:30-4:40 p.m. and 7-10 p.m. each day from July 15-17; concerto rounds during the same times on Tuesday, July 18; recital finals from 7-10 p.m. on Wednesday, July 19; and an honors recital from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, July 20.
Concerto finals with the Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall in Cleveland, under the direction of Jahja Ling, will be at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 21. Tickets to the finals may be purchased by calling 216-231-1111 or visiting www.clevelandorchestra.com.
Tickets range from $15 to $25 and students under age 18 are admitted free with a paying adult. Student tickets for $15 are also available with a school ID.
A 10-member jury of acclaimed performers and pedagogues will judge the competition. It includes Oberlin Conservatory faculty members Gregory Fulkerson, David Bowlin, Marilyn McDonald, Sibbi Bernhardsson, and Milan Vitek; Jan Mark Sloman of the Cleveland Institute of Music; Chenxing Huang of the Shanghai Conservatory; Haik Kazazyan of the Moscow Conservatory; Mark Messenger of the Royal College of Music faculty in Great Britain; and Naoko Tanaka of the Juilliard School.
Master classes by the jurors will also be offered as part of the Cooper International Competition. All will be held at Kulas Recital Hall:
• Bowlin, 9 a.m. on Tuesday, July 18.
• McDonald, 10:45 a.m., Tuesday, July 18.
• Fulkerson, 9 a.m., Wednesday, July 19.
• Huang, 10:45 a.m., Wednesday, July 19.
• Sloman, 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 19.
• Messenger, 10 a.m., Thursday, July 20.
• Kazazyan, 1:30 p.m., Thursday, July 20.
• Tanaka, 3:15 p.m., Thursday, July 20.
• Bernhardsson, 10 a.m., Friday, July 21.
• Vitek, 1:30 p.m., Friday, July 21.
Founded in 2010, the Thomas and Evon Cooper International Competition is dedicated to presenting an important international competitive opportunity to highly accomplished young musicians.
It is made possible through the generosity of Thomas Cooper, a 1978 graduate of Oberlin College, and his wife, pianist Evon Cooper.
The Cooper Competition alternates annually between piano and violin and is open to participants between the ages of 13 and 18. Past winners include pianist George Li and violinist Sirena Huang, both of whom have accumulated numerous international competition prizes and cultivated outstanding performance careers.