Newswire | Gaeun Kim Wins 37th Irving M. Klein International String Competition

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San Francisco, California (June 6, 2022) — The first prize of the 37th Irving M. Klein International String Competition, carrying a purse of $13,000, including performance contracts with the Peninsula and Santa Cruz Symphonies, Gualala Arts Chamber Music Series, and Music in the Vineyards has been awarded to 20-year-old cellist GAEUN KIM.  It is given in honor of Oliver Herbert, by Paul Wayne Osborne. She was also awarded the Pablo Casals Prize for best performance of Bach.  In addition to a live audience at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, thousands worldwide watched seven semifinalists via livestream on the Violin Channel June 4 – 5 compete for cash prizes and performance contracts.  A jury of seven determined the winners.  Semifinalists were selected from 112 entrants, ranging in age from 15 to 23.  The Competition is produced by the California Music Center.

Gaeun’s winning program included movements from the Shostakovich Sonata in D minor for Cello and Piano, Op. 40; and Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33.  Gaeun attends the Juilliard School where she is a student of Richard Aaron**.  She also studies with Gautier Capucon in Paris. Full bio below.

Second Prize ($6,300) goes to violinist JAEWON WEE, 22.  It includes performance contracts with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra, among others, and is given by Ruth Short in memory of Elaine H. Klein, wife of Irving M. Klein, and for 34 years, an active board director.  Jaewon currently studies with Donald Weilerstein at the New England Conservatory. She was also awarded also won the Weiss prize for Best Performance of the Commissioned Work.

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Third Prize was awarded to violinist ANDROMEDA KEPECS, 18. $2,500 is given by David and Judy Anderson, in memory of Judy’s father, Milton Preves, principal violist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1939 to 1986 and instrumental in developing the basis for the current judging procedures for the Klein.  She attended the Menlo School and studies with David Chernyavsky. She will enter Columbia University to study with Li Lin in the Columbia-Juilliard Program.

One of two Fourth Prizes ($1,500) went to violinist JACQUES FORESTIER, 17 and is given in memory of Jerry Lee Klein, Irving M. Klein’s younger son. Jacques attended Mt Royal Conservatory, and was a student of Patinka Kopec; he will enter Curtis Institute of Music in fall 2022.

A second Fourth Prize ($1,500) was also awarded to violinist HAYOUNG CHOI, 20.  She attends the McDuffie Center for Strings, and studies with Amy Schwartz Moretti, Robert McDuffie, and David Kim.

Each Semifinalist not awarded a named prize receives $1,000. These went to violist EMILY HWANG, 16 (CA); and cellist HAN LEE, 22 (Korea).


First prizewinner Gaeun Kim received both first prize and the special award in the 2012 Antonio Janigro Competition, and has won first prizes in the 2014 Liezen International Competition, and the 2015 David Popper International Cello Competition. She was selected as a “Samsung Rising Star” and one of “30 rising stars in Culture & Arts Industry of the Republic of Korea.”  Gaeun was the youngest participant in the 2018 Isang-Yun International Competition and the 2019 XVI Tchaikovsky International Competition. Recently she was one of six winners of the ‘Classe d’Excellence de Violoncelle’, led by cellist Gautier Capucon with whom she studies, and served as the Louis Vuitton Foundation Artist until 2021. Gaeun placed first at the Seoul Classic Music, Music & Chunchu, Little Mozart, Yewon, Youngsan Music, Sungjeong Music, Ehwa and Kyunghyang Competitions. She has played with the Zagreb Soloists, Euro-Asian Philharmonic, Suwon Symphony, Incheon Symphony, Bucheon Symphony, Seongnam Symphony, and the New World Philharmonic Orchestras. Since 2020 she has studied with Richard Aaron at the Juilliard School.

The jury for the 2022 Competition included Richard Aaron, Christopher Costanza, Francesca dePasquale, Gloria Justen (2022 Composer), Daniel Stewart, Ian Swensen, and Barbara Day Turner.

Previous winners of the Klein Competition include Jennifer Koh, Oliver Herbert, Frank Huang, Robert deMaine, Tessa Lark, Nikki Chooi, Francesca DePasquale, Gloria Justen, Mihai Marica, Teng Li, and David Requiro. In 2021 violist Yuchen Lu won first prize.

**A note on judging: Our jury rules prohibit judges from voting for anyone with whom they might be perceived to have a conflict of interest. For example, judges may not vote for their student; they can leave their ballot blank or vote for anyone else, but not vote for them. All voting is done by secret ballot, and no one can know who has voted for whom. Judges are instructed not to ever discuss the performances or the players until all voting is completed. Fairness and objectivity are the Klein’s most prized values. All of this is emphasized with the jury over the two days, and they completely accept these requirements. We also ask them to disclose any potential conflicts beside the obvious ones, to make certain that no possible perception of bias is present.

About the California Music Center, producer of the Klein Competition

California Music Center (CMC) was founded in 1974 by Irving M. Klein, a virtuoso chamber musician and master cello teacher, as the sponsoring organization for a summer music institute and chamber music series for young artists.  Following Mr. Klein’s passing in 1985, CMC inaugurated the Irving M. Klein International String Competition (“the Klein”) in 1986; since then, the Klein has become one of the most prestigious and anticipated events of its kind, attracting entries annually from throughout the world and helping to enhance the developing careers of players who have gone on to become renowned soloists, chamber musicians, teachers, and prominent members of the world’s finest orchestras. CMC also produces concerts year-round featuring laureates, and masterclasses and community engagement activities around the Bay Area.

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