Emad Zolfaghari Named First-Prize Winner in the 2024 Primrose International Viola Competition, held at the Colburn School

(Saturday, June 22, 2024, Los Angeles, CA) – The Colburn School today announced that Emad Zolfaghari has been named the first-prize winner in the 2024 Primrose International Viola Competition, which took place at the Colburn School, June 17-22, 2024. Kinga Wojdalska won second prize, and Andy Park won third prize. The Primrose International Viola Competition was co-presented by Colburn School and the American Viola Society.

Emad Zolfaghari has won $15,000, as well as an invitation to perform at the 2026 American Viola Society Festival and an invitation to participate in the semi-finals of the Concert Artists Guild Competition. Kinga Wojdalska has won $10,000, and Andy Park has won $5,000.

Canadian violist Emad Zolfaghari was accepted into the Curtis Institute of Music at age 16, where he currently studies with Hsin-Yun Huang. He is the first-prize winner of the Irving M. Klein International String Competition and the International Morningside Music Bridge Competition. He is the second-prize winner of the Johansen International String Competition and third-prize winner of the OSM String Competition. Zolfaghari has appeared as a soloist with several major symphony orchestras, including l’Orchestre Métropolitain under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Montreal Symphony, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, National Philharmonic, Oakville Chamber Orchestra, and National Metropolitan Philharmonic. His previous mentors include Theresa Rudolph, Caroline Coade, and Shanda Lowery-Sachs.

Zolfaghari has attended Morningside Music Bridge, the Center Stage Strings festival as a junior faculty member, the Perlman Music Program, and Music from Angel Fire. His other awards include grand prize at the OMNI Music Competition, first prize at the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra Competition, Guelph Symphony Orchestra Competition and Oakville Chamber Orchestra Competition, second prize at the Ronald Sachs International Music Competition and top and special prizes at the Shean Strings Competition.

Polish violist Kinga Wojdalska is an upcoming soloist and chamber musician known for her emotional performances. She premiered John Williams’ viola concerto in Europe with the Dohnanyi Budafok Orchestra in 2022. Ms. Wojdalska has won 22 competition awards, including the Karl Doctor Prize in the Lionel Tertis Competition 2019. She has received scholarships from the Hattori Foundation, Countess of Munster Musical Trust, and the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship. A proud Varsovian, Ms. Wojdalska studied at the Zenon Brzewski Music School. Later, she completed her bachelor’s degree at the Royal College of Music in London and her master’s soloist diploma at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste. Currently, she is continuing her education there under the direction of Lawrence Power and Sergey Malov. In the 2023–24 concert season, she was a member of the Basel Sinfonieorchester as part of the orchestra academy. Wojdalska has performed with acclaimed musicians and at prestigious venues, including Musikverein Vienna and Tonhalle Zurich. Chamber music is a significant part of her career. As a member of the Brompton Quartet, Ms. Wojdalska made her Wigmore Hall debut and recorded an album for Mathis Saunier and Noah Max. She co-founded the Polish ensemble Kameralna N – Harmonia and is a member of the Viktoria Mullova Ensemble. Wojdalska plays a modern viola by Jerzy Maślanka.

Andy Park, a senior at Yale University, is pursuing Bachelor of Arts/Master of Music dual degrees under the guidance of Ettore Causa. Before attending Yale, he attended Colburn School’s Community School of Performing Arts, studying with Andrew Picken and Gina Coletti, and attended Colburn School’s Music Academy, studying with Paul Coletti and Gina Coletti. He was a quarter finalist in the 2021 Primrose International Viola Competition and he was invited to the first round of the 2023 ARD International Music Competition. As an orchestra enthusiast, Park took part in the 2018 New York String Orchestra Seminar and has won principal viola positions in numerous orchestras. During previous summers, he actively participated in music festivals such as Music@Menlo and the Heifetz Ashkenasi/Kirshbaum Seminar. Park has performed alongside esteemed artists such as Joshua Bell, Nicholas Kitchen, Yeesun Kim, Yefim Bronfman, and Pamela Frank. He also participated in master classes led by Roberto Diaz, Karen Dreyfus, and Mr. Coletti. Mr. Park currently uses a bow and a viola graciously loaned by the Maestro Foundation.

Kinga Wojdalska also won the Transcriptions Prize and received $1,000, for her own transcription and performance of Grażyna Bacewicz’s Polish Capriccio, and Mao Konishi won the Illumination Prize for best performance of a work by an underrepresented composer demographic and received $1,000, for her performance of Akira Nishimura’s Sonata for Viola Solo No. 2 “Mantra on the C string.”

During the final competition round, Emad Zolfaghari performed Bela Bartók’s Viola Concerto (ed. Serly) and Kinga Wojdalska and Andy Park performed William Walton’s Viola Concerto with the Colburn Orchestra, led by Elias Peter Brown, a Salonen Fellow in the Negaunee Conducting Program at the Colburn Conservatory.

Members of the audience voted for their favorite competitor in the Final Round, and Emad Zolfaghari won the Audience Prize.

A total of 21 live round competitors from all over the world, representing 11 countries, participated in the 2024 Primrose International Viola Competition. The average age of participants was 24, with the youngest aged 16 and the oldest 30.

The live round competition jury included  Ayane Kozasa (Jury Chairman, United States), Atar Arad (United States, Israel), Cathy Basrak (United States), Ensik Choi (South Korea), Steven Dann (Canada), and Geraldine Walther (United States). For full biographies, please visit https://www.primrosecompetition.org/2024-jury/. Colburn Alumna and 1993 Primrose Competition winner Nokuthula Ngwenyama wrote “Remembrance,” a commissioned work for the 2024 competition in memory of Dr. David Dalton, and served as honorary chair.

As one of the most renowned string instrument competitions in the world, the Primrose International Viola Competition features the world’s best and most promising young violists. The Competition offers southern California one week of exceptional international competition, exquisite music, and an exhilarating finish. All rounds are open to the public, and audiences can expect to hear a broad survey of the viola repertoire.

The 2024 competition was dedicated to the memory of Dr. David Dalton, who was one of the world’s greatest champions of the viola, and a former student and friend of William Primrose. Dr. Dalton was professor emeritus of viola at Brigham Young University, and earned his B.M. and M.M. degrees in violin at the Eastman School of Music. After meeting William Primrose, he switched to viola and received his doctorate in performance at Indiana University. Dalton collaborated with Primrose in writing his memoir, “Walk on the North Side and Playing the Viola: Conversations with William Primrose” and produced two documentaries, “A Violist’s Legacy,” and “William Primrose, Violist.” Primrose and he were co‐founders of the Primrose International Viola Archive (PIVA) at BYU, the largest and most important repository of materials related to the instrument. Dr. Dalton served as president of the American and International Viola Societies, as well as editor of the Journal of the American Viola Society. In 2013 in Krakow, Poland, the International Viola Society awarded Dr. Dalton the “Golden Viola Clef,” the Society’s highest honor for his distinguished and unique contributions to the viola.

About the Colburn School
A performing arts institution located in the heart of Los Angeles, the Colburn School trains students from beginners to those about to embark on professional careers. The academic units of the School provide a complete spectrum of music and dance education united by a single philosophy: that all who desire to study music or dance should have access to top-level instruction.

  • The diploma- and degree-granting Conservatory of Music is distinguished by a unique all-scholarship model, renowned faculty, and outstanding performance opportunities. It prepares the very highest level of collegiate musicians for professional careers.
  • The Music Academy is a highly selective training program for gifted young pre-collegiate musicians, designed to prepare students for conservatory study and performing careers at the highest levels of achievement. This program offers residential options and balances performance, musical instruction, and academics.
  • The Community School of Performing Arts welcomes students of all ages, from seven months old to adults. It offers more than 120 classes each year in orchestral instruments, piano, guitar, voice, jazz, music theory, drama, and ensembles including orchestra, choir, and chamber music.
  • The Trudl Zipper Dance Institute develops performers of all levels, from aspiring professionals in the Dance Academy to beginners starting in Youth Dance. Students of all levels receive training in ballet, tap, musical theater, and modern genres as part of a comprehensive dance education.
  • Created to serve all units of the School, the Center for Innovation and Community Impact empowers the musical and dance leaders of tomorrow by nurturing students’ passion and ability to serve their communities, preparing them for sustainable careers, and embracing the development of new ideas. The Center embodies Colburn’s commitment to developing young artists with the curiosity, skills, and commitment to make a difference in their field.

Each year, more than 2,000 students from around the world come to Colburn to benefit from the renowned faculty, exceptional facilities, and focus on excellence that unites the community.

The Colburn Center, designed by Frank Gehry, is a multi-faceted campus expansion of the Colburn School. Located across the street from the School’s existing campus at the intersection of Olive and Second Streets, the Colburn Center will enable the School to expand its mission of presenting programs for the public. Gehry’s design includes a 1,000-seat in-the-round concert hall named Terri and Jerry Kohl Hall, five professional-sized dance studios including a 100-seat studio theater, and gardens that bring fresh air and green spaces to the downtown landscape. The Colburn School broke ground on the Colburn Center on April 5, 2024. The completed project will join Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall and The Grand complex to create the largest concentration of buildings designed by the architect in the world.

About the American Viola Society
Founded in 1971, the American Viola Society inspires excellence and builds community through viola study, performance, research, composition, and lutherie. The AVS provides support and resources for a global community of violists and viola enthusiasts with online resources, live events, competitions, scholarships, online series, funding opportunities, and the Journal of the American Viola Society.

Lisa Bellamore

Jennifer Kallend