Colburn School Announces Live Round Competitors for the 2021 Primrose International Viola Competition

(Tuesday, September 20, Los Angeles, CA) – The Colburn School and the American Viola Society today announced the 24 live round competitors for the 2021 Primrose International Viola Competition. The 24 live round competitors were chosen from a pool of 103 applications received during the pre-screening round that closed in July 2021. The 2021 Primrose International Viola Competition takes place at the Colburn School, December 13-18, 2021.

The 24 live round competitors come from all over the world, representing 10 countries. The average age of participants is 23, with the youngest aged 18 and the oldest 29.

“After a prolonged period of closure, it is especially meaningful this year to be able to present, in-person, the Primrose International Viola Competition in collaboration with the American Viola Society,” said Colburn School President and CEO Sel Kardan. “As we prepare for the 16th international competition honoring the legacy of William Primrose, we look forward to hearing the next top soloists, chamber musicians, orchestral players, and pedagogues on campus. These talented young musicians are an inspiration and testament to perseverance during the challenging pandemic period, and this will undoubtedly be an uplifting week of music and celebration.”

“The American Viola Society established the Primrose International Viola Competition in 1979 to recognize and encourage extraordinary young violists,” said American Viola Society President Hillary Hillary Herndon. “We are thrilled that Colburn will once again host this prominent event, and are looking forward to hearing these 24 violists live.”

Each of the live round participants will compete in the Quarter-Final Round on December 13 & 14, 2021, and eight competitors will advance to the Semi-Final Round, taking place on December 16, 2021. During the Quarter-Final Round, competitors will perform works that demonstrate the musical and virtuosic strengths of the competitor, including the performance of one piece for solo viola or for viola and piano by a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) composer. During the Semi-Final Round, competitors will perform selected works and also have the freedom to choose their repertoire, including original works.

During the Final Round on December 18, 2021, the final three competitors will perform, in its entirety, either the Bartók/Serly Viola Concerto or Walton Viola Concerto with the Colburn Orchestra, conducted by Salonen Conducting Fellow Kyle Dickson.

The winner will be announced during the awards ceremony held shortly after the Final Round. The first prize winner will receive $15,000; the second prize winner will receive $10,000; the third prize winner will receive $5,000; the transcriptions prize winner will receive $1,000; and the BIPOC prize winner will receive $1,000. The first prize winner will perform at the 2022 American Viola Society Festival & 47th International Viola Congress in June 2022.

The live round competition jury includes Barry Shiffman (Jury Chairman, Canada), Andrés Cárdenes (USA/Cuba), Victoria Chiang (USA), Daniel Heifetz (USA), Mai Motobuchi (Japan), Dimitri Murrath (Belgium), and Chauncey Patterson (USA). For full biographies, please visit

All live rounds will be streamed on The Violin Channel.

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.

In conjunction with the Primrose International Viola Competition, the American Viola Society will host a Mini-Fest taking place at the Colburn School, December 17 – 18, 2021. Master classes, recitals, and educational sessions and exhibitions comprise the Mini-Fest. Free access is available for ticket holders attending the Quarter-, Semi-, or Final rounds of the Primrose International Viola Competition as well as any member of the Southern California Viola Society or American Viola Society.

Founded in 1979 by the American Viola Society as the first international competition solely for violists, the Primrose International Viola Competition is proud of the rich history and legacy it promotes. For over 40 years, the Competition has continued to attract distinguished jurors and talented participants worldwide, serving as an inspiration to young artists across the globe. The Competition has an international reputation for identifying the talent of tomorrow and is respected for its artistic and professional integrity. Its laureates occupy principal seats of major symphony orchestras, act as professors in major centers of education, and have achieved critical acclaim as international soloists.

For more information about the Primrose Competition, please visit

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit

List of live round competitors:

For more information, please visit

All ages below as of December 2021.

  • Keoni Bolding (USA; 24; Curtis Institute of Music)
  • Danielle Wiebe Burke (Canada; 29; Yale University)
  • Hannah Burnett (USA; 23; Juilliard School)
  • Chih-Ta Chen (Taiwan; 23; Curtis Institute of Music)
  • Soyoung Cho (South Korea; 23; Curtis Institute of Music)
  • Karolina Errera (Russia; 28; Kronberg Academy)
  • Sara Ferrandez (Spain; 26; Kronberg Academy)
  • Yitong Guo (China; 28; Hamburg Philharmonic)
  • Brian Isaacs (USA; 21; Yale University)
  • Jiwon Kim (South Korea; 21; Cleveland Institute of Music)
  • Sengyun Kim (South Korea; 28; Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris)
  • Eunbin Lee (South Korea; 18; Korea National University of Arts)
  • Yizilin Liang (China; 20; Curtis Institute of Music)
  • Natalie Loughran (USA; 24; Juilliard School)
  • Andy Park (USA/South Korea; 20; Yale University)
  • Mathis Rochat (France/Switzerland; 27; Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel)
  • Samuel Rosenthal (USA; 21; Juilliard School)
  • Ursula Steele (USA; 25; Indiana University)
  • Nicholas Swensen (Denmark/USA; 22; Juilliard School)
  • Semin Yim (South Korea; 18; Korea National University of Arts)
  • Mingyue Yu (China; 21; Colburn Conservatory of Music)
  • Emiko Yuasa (Japan; 26; Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich)
  • Sohui Yun (South Korea; 26; San Francisco Conservatory of Music)
  • Chuxuejie Zhang (China; 25; San Francisco Conservatory of Music)

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 Community School of Performing Arts welcomes students of all ages, from seven months old to adults. It offers over 120 classes each year in orchestral instruments, piano, guitar, voice, jazz, music theory, drama, and ensembles including orchestra, choir, and chamber music.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 residential program balances performance, musical instruction, and academics.
  • 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. Learn more at

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.

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