24 live-round competitors will have the chance to perform for the first prize of $15,000 in June this year


The prizewinners of the 2021 competition (l-r) Nicholas Swensen, Natalie Loughran and Samuel Rosenthal | facebook.com

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The Colburn School and the American Viola Society (AVS) has announced the 24 live-round competitors for the 2024 Primrose International Viola Competition. The 24 live round competitors were chosen from a pool of 156 applications received during the pre-screening round that closed in January 2024. The competition will take place at the Colburn School, 17 to 22 June 2024.  

The 24 competitors come from all over the world, representing 12 countries. The average age of participants is 24, with the youngest aged 16 and the oldest 30. They are as follows:

  • Leslie Ashworth (Canada, 27)

  • Keoni Bolding (US, 26) 

  • Hsiang-Hsin Ching (Taiwan, 23)

  • Toby Cook (UK, 26)

  • Riko Eto (Japan, 23)

  • Andjela Josifoski (Serbia, 17)

  • Yong Ha Jung (South Korea, 24)

  • Yunji Jang (South Korea, 22)

  • Annariina Jokela (Finland, 30)

  • Mao Konishi (Japan, 28)

  • Katie Liu (US, 25)

  • Laura Liu (US, 23)

  • Wilhelm Magner (Canada, 24)

  • David Montreuil (Canada, 28)

  • Andy Park (US, 22)

  • Haneul Park (South Korea, 23)

  • Karolina Errera Pavon (Russia, 30)

  • JungAhn Shin (South Korea, 24)

  • Otoha Tabata (Japan, 24)

  • Guohan Tang (China, 23)

  • Duleen Van Gunsteren (Netherlands, 28)

  • Kinga Wojdalska (Poland, 25)

  • Xunyu Zhou (China, 16)

  • Emad Zolfaghari (Canada, 19)

’The Primrose Competition is not just a showcase of exceptional talent, but a celebration of the viola’s unique voice, highlighting its depth, richness, and versatility in the world of classical music,’ said Colburn School president and CEO Sel Kardan.

’We are excited to host the live round competitors at Colburn in collaboration with the American Viola Society, along with hundreds of violists from around the world attending the 2024 American Viola Society Festival. This will be a week filled with inspiring music and celebrations that recognise the next generation of rising stars in classical music.’

In conjunction with the Primrose International Viola Competition, the American Viola Society will host its 2024 Festival taking place at the Colburn School on 19 to 22 June 2024. Recital performances, lectures, presentations, masterclasses, youth competitions, and exhibits will be scheduled around the competition Semi-Final and Final rounds.  

The Colburn School will also present a performance by celebrated chamber musician, soloist, and Colburn faculty member Tatjana Masurenko on June 20 and a recital by the distinguished members of the Primrose International Viola Competition Jury on 21 June. 

’The American Viola Society takes great pride in the remarkable legacy of the Primrose Competition and its laureates, and is honoured to co-present this year’s competition with our wonderful partners at the Colburn School,’ remarked AVS president Ames Asbell.

’Alongside this year’s competition, the AVS is thrilled to present our biennial American Viola Society Festival - a four-day celebration of the viola filled with performances, lectures, workshops, and much more. The combined PIVC and AVS Festival events ensure a can’t-miss experience for violists of all ages.’ 

Each of the live-round participants will compete in the quarter-final round on 17 and 18 June, and eight competitors will advance to the semi-final round, taking place on 19 June. During the quarter-finals, competitors will perform works that demonstrate the musical and virtuosic strengths of the competitor, including the performance of one piece for solo viola or for viola and piano by a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) composer. The semi-finals will see competitors will perform any two contrasting movements of a solo work by Bach, a complete major work for viola and piano, and a commissioned work for viola and piano by Nokuthula Ngwenyama written in memory of Dr. David Dalton.  

The final three competitors will perform Claude Debussy’s Trio for Flute, Viola and Pedal Harp (1915) on 21 June. The following day, the competitors will perform either Bela Bartók’s Viola Concerto (ed. Serly) or William Walton’s Viola Concerto with orchestra led by Elias Peter Brown, a Salonen Fellow in the Negaunee Conducting Program at the Colburn Conservatory.

The first prize winner will receive $15,000; the second prize winner will receive $10,000; the third prize winner will receive $5,000; the Transcriptions Prize winner will receive $1,000; and the Illumination Prize winner, for best performance of a work by an underrepresented composer demographic, will receive $1,000. The first-prize winner will perform at the 2026 American Viola Society Festival and receive an invitation to the semi-finals of the Concert Artists Guild Competition.

The live round competition jury comprises Tim Frederiksen (jury chairman, Denmark), Atar Arad (US, Israel), Cathy Basrak (US), Ensik Choi (South Korea), Steven Dann (Canada), Ayane Kozasa (US), and Geraldine Walther (US).

The Primrose International Viola Competition was founded in 1979 by the American Viola Society as the first international competition solely for violists. Recent winners include Natalie Loughran (2021), Hae-Sue Lee (2018), Zhanbo Zheng (2014) and Ayane Kozasa (2011).