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Finalists Announced at Klein International String Competition

Currently being held at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the 38th edition will see its three finalists compete tomorrow, June 4

The Irving M. Klein International String Competition, produced by the California Music Center, is open to musicians between the ages of 15 and 23. Celebrating 38 years of championing the world’s finest young string players, the Klein Competition saw 9 semi-finalists compete today at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

As the competition's official partner, audiences worldwide can watch the competition LIVE on The Violin Channel.

The jury chose 3 finalists to perform tomorrow, June 4 at 3 PM PST. The 2023 Finalists are violinists Audrey Goodner and Ray Ushikubo and violist Emad Zolfaghari. You can get to know the competitors below:


Audrey Goodner, violin, 17 (TX)


Ray Ushikubo, violin, 21 (CA)


Emad Zolfaghari, viola, 18 (CANADA)


Fourth prizes, each worth $1,500, were awarded to Blaire Kim, in memory of Jerry Lee Klein, and Vincent Garcia-Hettinger, given by Peter Gelfand and Sharon Childress.

Audrey Goodner also received the Pablo Casals Prize for best performance of the solo Bach work, while Ray Ushikubo won the Allen R. Weiss and Susan E. Weiss Memorial Prize for Best Performance of the Commissioned Work by Gity Razaz. Goodner and Ushikubo will receive $500 each for these special prizes.

The jury comprises violinist Glenn Dicterow, violist Karen Dreyfus, cellist and 2014 Klein first prizewinner Zlatomir Fung, this year’s commissioned composer Gity Razaz, bassist Harold Robinson, and conductors Daniel Stewart and Barbara Day Turner.

The grand prize winner will receive $5,000 cash and performance contracts with the Peninsula and Santa Cruz Symphonies, Gualala Arts Chamber Series, among others, valued at $13,000.

The second prize of $3,500 cash and performance contracts is valued at $5,500, including a performance with the San José Chamber Orchestra. Ruth Short gives this prize in memory of Elaine H. Klein. A third prize of $2,500 is given in memory of Milton Preves by Judith and David Anderson.

Each semifinalist not awarded a named prize will receive $1,000.

Cellist Coleman Itzkoff, 2016 Klein prizewinner, is this year’s mentor and co-hosts with Klein Artistic Director Mitchell Sardou Klein. The latter noted, “Selection of this remarkable group of young musical artists was especially challenging this year, with so many inspired application performances to choose from. It’s truly thrilling to see and hear the level of musicianship that this new generation of string players is exhibiting.”

This year's commissioned composer, Gity Razaz has been commissioned and had her work performed by Seattle Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Washington National Opera, National Sawdust, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and violinists Jennifer Koh and Francesca DePasquale (both top Klein prizewinners).

Previous winners of the Klein Competition include Jennifer Koh, Mark Kosower, Vadim Gluzman, Jennifer Frautschi, Alban Gerhardt, Nikki Chooi, Teng Li, Francesca dePasquale, Oliver Herbert, Frank Huang, Tessa Lark, and Robert deMaine. 


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