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by Daniel Hathaway

Oberlin-Cooper-Tie-2013-MastroianniResuming their ancient tug-of-war for artistic supremacy, Apollo and Dionysius each sponsored a performance of the Tchaikovsky concerto last Friday evening during the final round of the Oberlin Cooper International Violin Competition at Severance Hall with Jahja Ling and The Cleveland Orchestra. It might have been more complicated with a third performance of the Tchaikovsky had not Ming Liu eventually emerged as one of the final three. Her performance of Prokofiev’s second concerto came between Ching-Yi Wei’s and Kyumin Park’s very different takes on the other Russian piece on the program.

First up by way of conductor’s choice was Ching-Yi Wei, 18, from Tainan, Taiwan. His was the Dionysian version, compelling for its physical energy, drive and sense of romantic abandon. After intermission, Kyumin Park, 16, from Seoul, South Korea, brought musical lucidity, variety of tone and a fine sense of pace and scale to Tchaikovsky’s famous showpiece, which seems to respond enthusiastically to different violinistic points of view. Park’s Apollonian reading also boasted a collegial connection to the other onstage musicians, a factor to which the orchestra palpably responded. Read the rest of this entry »


Oberlin-Cooper-Tie-2013-MastroianniCleveland, OH, July 27 — In a first for the four-year-old Oberlin Cooper Competition, following the final round with Jahja Ling and The Cleveland Orchestra last night at Severance Hall, the jury announced that Ching-Yi Wei and Kyumin Park, both of whom had played the Tchaikovsky concerto, would share first prize. Second prize went to Ming Liu, who played the second concerto of Prokofiev. Results were announced by Thomas and Evon Cooper, the competition’s benefactors, who awarded the prizes. The final round was broadcast live on WCLV, 104.9 FM and (Photo by Roger Mastroianni).

by Daniel Hathaway

Oberlin-Cooper-Six-2013The last hurdle on the way to Severance Hall for competitors in the Oberlin Cooper International Violin Competition is the recital round, where six performers revisit their solo repertoire in 30-minute recitals chosen by the jury from the semi-final round. A large crowd turned out to hear the three-and-a-half hour program in Warner Concert Hall at the Oberlin Conservatory on Wednesday evening, a highly-structured event carried live on WCLV, 104.9 FM and hosted by Robert Conrad.

A second hearing confirmed a lot that these ears noted in the concerto round the day before, but there were also some pleasant surprises.

Kyumin Park (16, Seoul, South Korea) maintained his rather cautious approach in pieces by Beethoven, Paganini and Chausson. His Beethoven (Op. 12, No. 1, Allegro) was strong and clean, his Paganini (Caprice No. 24) brilliant enough, his Chausson (Poème) perhaps more calculated than spontaneous despite expansive collaborative playing from Elizabeth DeMio. Here’s a talented player who just needs to be fearless and go for it. Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

OberlinCooperLogoUnless you’re an audiophile on a mission, you’re not likely to sit down and listen to ten complete performances of violin concertos in one day (much less three of Tchaikovsky’s, two each of Brahms’s and Sibelius’s and single performances each of Mendelssohn’s, Shostakovich’s first and Prokofiev’s second). Or unless you’re a judge or audience member at an international violin event like the Oberlin Cooper Competition.

On Tuesday afternoon and evening, July 23, that unlikely possibility became a reality as ten violinists, ages 15 to 18, played the concerto round of the Cooper Competition in Oberlin’s Warner Concert Hall, giving a fascinating look into the musical personalities and technical prowess of the competitors, who were vying for the opportunity to become one of three finalists to play these pieces with The Cleveland Orchestra on Friday evening in Severance Hall.

All ten players, having passed the entrance auditions and survived the semi-final rounds, have certified that they are fine musicians who have the technical wherewithal to play every note of their chosen concertos. Read the rest of this entry »

OberlinCooperLogoOberlin, OH, July 24 — The jury announced this evening the sixth, fifth, and fourth place winners, the recipient of the audience prize for the recital final and the three contestants who will play the final round with Jahja Ling and The Cleveland Orchestra in Severance Hall on Friday, July 26 at 8:00 pm. The concert will be broadcast live over WCLV, 104.9 FM and

6th place – Angela Wee
5th place – Jieming Tang
4th place- Gallia Kastner
Audience Prize: Ching-Yi Wei

Finalists who will play at Severance Hall (order to be announced):
Kyumin Park: Tchaikovsky concerto
Ming Liu: Prokofiev second concerto
Ching-Yi Wei: Tchaikovsky concerto

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