Symphony Violin Competition Showdown

Violin Competition
Violinist playing violin | Image by CKYN stock photo/Shutterstock

The final round of the Dallas Chamber Symphony’s (DCS) inaugural violinist competition is slated for June 20 at Moody Performance Hall, where three violinists will face off in solo performances.

In a three-day competition that began on June 15, the field of 11 talented violinists was reduced to three after playing a concerto both accompanied by the piano and alone in front of a panel of judges.

As The Dallas Express previously reported, the annual competition traditionally catered to pianists, but DCS has now shifted to alternating between the piano, the violin, and the cello.

The contest has provided an opportunity for a new pool of talented musicians to showcase their skills to the residents of Dallas.

“We saw it as integral to our long-term plan of building an audience, a local community interested in seeing national and international talent who might not otherwise have a reason to visit Dallas,” DCS music and artistic director Richard McKay explained, according to NBC 5.

Featuring the violin instead of the piano in this competition is more complex than it might seem, especially since the orchestra will accompany the violinists in the upcoming finals.

“As an orchestra, we need to be more mature and have a more solid foundation to really be able to execute and build a complicated event like this in an instrument and on an instrument that is not traditionally represented in a competition like piano is,” remarked McKay, according to NBC 5.

While the first two rounds took place at Arlington ISD Center for the Performing Arts, the final round will spotlight the Dallas Arts District’s Moody Performance Hall.

Before the event, the three finalists — Chaewon Kim, Sarah Ma, and Jaewon Wee — will have three auditions with DCS led by guest conductor Jim Stopher, a professor from California’s College of Marin.

Each contestant will then take the stage Tuesday night and vie for a $2,500 cash prize and the honor of performing with DCS during the 2023-2024 season.

Kim, who is training at New York’s Juilliard School, will play Béla Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 2.

Ma, currently studying at Oberlin College and Conservatory in Ohio, will perform Sergei Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor.

After a brief intermission, a performance of Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D Minor by Wee will wrap up the evening. Wee will soon attend Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music in Houston after having already been trained at Juilliard and the New England Conservatory.

Although three jurors will decide the winner, the audience will have the chance to vote for their favorite in an audience choice award.

Tickets for the finals can be purchased here for prices ranging from $29 to $54. The show begins at 7:30 p.m.

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