Open to violinists between the ages of 13 and 18, the eleventh annual Thomas and Evon Cooper International Competition took place between August 15-19, 2022, on the campus of Ohio's Oberlin College and Conservatory.
Seohyun Kim (13) of Seoul, South Korea took home first prize, Sameer Agrawal (17) from Chicago, IL earned Second Prize, and Calvin Alexander (17) from Shreveport, LA received Third Prize.
Kim will receive a $20,000 first prize and a two-year partnership with MKI Artists, which includes up to 10 concerto or recital engagements throughout the United States.
She will also get exclusive rights for the world premiere and subsequent performances of a new six-minute work for violin and orchestra composed by Jeff Scott for a period of two years, plus the use of a rare Italian violin loaned for a period of two years by Jonathan Solars Fine Violins of New York.
The second and third place winners were given $10,000 and $5,000 cash prizes, respectively. The competition also offered every finalist a four-year full-tuition scholarship, after a successful application process, to Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
In the final concerto round, Agrawal and Alexander performed Tchaikovsky's Concerto in D Major, Op. 35, while Kim performed Brahms' Concerto in D Major, Op. 77.
Each finalist performed with the Canton Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Gerhardt Zimmermann — which was streamed LIVE on The Violin Channel on Friday, August 19.
The 2022 jury consists of Oberlin violin professor Sibbi Bernhardsson, who also directs the competition. He is joined by Danielle Belen from the University of Michigan, Philip Setzer of the Emerson String Quartet, and John Zion of MKI Artists.
Founded in 2010 and sponsored by Thomas and Evon Cooper, the Cooper Competitions saw its 2020 and 2021 editions postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Former first prize winners include VC Young Artists Sirena Huang and Johan Dalene.
Born in Seoul in 2008, Seohyun Kim began playing the violin at the age of five. A student of Sunny Lee at the Seoul Central Conservatory, she has received mentoring from Pavel Vernikov, Ulf Wallin, Min Kim, Clara Jumi Kang, Qian Zhou, Clara Cernat, and Lorenz Nasturica-Herschcowici. A semi-finalist at the 2021 Menuhin competition, she was also a rising star of the Gonjiam Music Festival and performed her first recital as a Kumho Prodigy Artist in December 2020.