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Cooper Competition’s Preliminary Audition Round Forecasts Success

Jun. 16, 2011

Gregory Fulkerson, Professor of Violin

Festival participants
In addition to the competition, the Beijing Concert Hall presented a festival for younger violinists, which featured another 40 immensely gifted prodigies performing and attending master classes and lectures.

The China round of the 2011 Cooper International Competition took place in Beijing over the weekend of April 30 – May 2, 2011. Thirty-eight applicants from all over China came together in the beautiful Beijing Concert Hall for a celebration of spectacular violin playing and amazing pyrotechnics. In addition to the competition, the Beijing Concert Hall presented a festival for younger violinists, which featured another 40 immensely gifted prodigies performing and attending master classes and lectures.

The weather could not have been more beautiful, and the spirit of friendship and collaboration infused the entire event.

There was unanimous agreement on the three winners, the first of twenty-four semifinalists to be selected for the competition in Oberlin in August:

18-year-old Zhu Ke from Beijing dazzled us both with his stylish Paganini Violin Concerto and his imaginative and daring performance of Wieniawski’s Faust Fantasy.

15-year-old dynamo Xie Yunqing came all the way from Hong Kong. She presented an energetic and passionate Tchaikovsky concerto, and totally swept us away with her technical wizardry in an especially creative performance of Paganini’s fiendishly difficult first Caprice.

18-year-old Qiu Tian from Beijing enchanted us with beautifully detailed phrasing in Shostakovich’s brooding first concerto and brought an unusual blend of rhetorical strength and rhythmic accuracy in Ravel’s Tzigane.

The judges for this round included Tong Weidong and Wang Hong from the Central Conservatory Middle School, Fang Yuan and Jin Hui from the China Conservatory in Beijing, and David Bowlin and Gregory Fulkerson from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music

Tong Wei Dong and Gregory Fulkerson gave public master classes featuring young artists from both the festival and the competition that lasted well into the evening on Sunday. Fulkerson’s class was enhanced by the gracious translating services provided by Tracy Wei, a dynamic young violin professor at the Shanghai Middle School.

At the conclusion of this mini festival, there was a Gala International Friendship Concert that included performances by the winners and some enticing views of the future. Especially wonderful were performances of Ernst’s Last Rose of Summer variations by an 11-year old festival participant and Handel-Halvorsen’s Passacaglia by identically dressed 9-year old twins. The concert began with the finale of Ysaye’s masterwork, the Sonata for Two Violins, performed by David Bowlin and Gregory Fulkerson.

The Oberlin Conservatory of Music wishes to thank the Beijing Concert Hall, whose administrative staff provided a thoroughly professional and seamless production.

About the Cooper International Competition
Beginning in summer 2010, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music joined with The Cleveland Orchestra to present an important new international competition that will build on the historic relationship between the two institutions and enhance educational opportunities for young musicians by offering scholarships, cash prizes, and the chance to perform in concert venues across the globe. The Thomas and Evon Cooper International Competition, sponsored by Thomas and Evon Cooper, will alternate annually between piano and violin, and debuted in summer 2010 for pianists. Open to musicians between the ages of 13 and 18, the competition will culminate in a final round at Severance Hall, where the top three competitors will perform a full concerto with The Cleveland Orchestra. The first-prize winner will take home $10,000, one of the largest prizes offered by an international youth competition. The Severance round of the competition will be open to the public, giving Ohioans a chance to hear some of the most promising young musicians in the world perform with an internationally renowned orchestra.

This year’s competition features violin and will take place from August 12 through 19. To learn more about the competition please visit

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