The Colburn School and American Viola Society Announce the 2024 Primrose International Viola Competition

Dedicated to the Memory of David Dalton, Champion of the Legacy of William Primrose

Featuring Commissioned Work by 1993 Primrose Competition Winner and Inaugural Honorary Competition Chair, Nokuthula Ngwenyama

Applications Now Open

(Monday, August 7, 2023) Los Angeles—The Colburn School and the American Viola Society today announced the 17th Primrose International Viola Competition, taking place June 17-22, 2024 at Colburn School’s Zipper Hall.As one of the most renowned string instrument competitions in the world, the Primrose International Viola Competition (The Primrose) features the world’s best and most promising young violists. The Competition will offer Southern California one week of exceptional international competition, exquisite music and an exhilarating finish. All rounds will be open to the public, and audiences can expect to hear a broad survey of the viola repertoire.The Primrose will be dedicated to 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.“The Primrose Competition is an inspirational occasion that illuminates brilliant young talent, and celebrates a distinctive instrument and its exceptional repertoire,” said Colburn School President and CEO Sel Kardan. “It is an honor to continue our partnership with the American Viola Society and co-present this special competition that pays homage to the esteemed legacy of William Primrose. We look forward to welcoming brilliant young violists from around the world for what promises to be an extraordinary week of performances.”“The Primrose Competition assembles the brightest international rising stars of the viola on one stage, and the American Viola Society is honored to join our wonderful partners at The Colburn School in presenting this exceptional event,” said American Viola Society President Ames Asbell. “For the first time since 2018, the AVS will present a four-day viola festival to complement the riveting Primrose Competition live rounds. It is fitting that we celebrate Dr. David Dalton’s landmark contributions to viola scholarship, pedagogy, performance, and community with an event that showcases every facet of our wonderful instrument.”Applications are now open for the 17th Primrose International Viola Competition, and must be received by January 15, 2024. Twenty four live round participants will compete in the Quarter-Final Round on June 17 & 18, 2024, and eight competitors will advance to the Semi-Final Round on June 19, 2024.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 first of two Final Rounds on June 21, the final three competitors will perform Debussy’s Trio for Flute, Viola and Pedal Harp (1915) with flutist Denis Bourikov and harpist Cristina Montes Mateo. During the second Final Round on June 22, the competitors will perform either the Bela Bartók Viola Concerto or William Walton Viola Concerto with orchestra.The winner will be announced during the awards ceremony held on June 22. The first prize winner will receive $15,000 as well as invitations to perform at the 2026 American Viola Society Festival and to participate in the semi-finals of the Concert Artists Guild Competition. 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 Illumination Prize winner will receive $1,000 for best performance of a work by an underrepresented composer demographic.The live round competition jury is made up of illustrious violists from around the world, including a number of past Primrose Competition prizewinners: Tim Frederiksen (Jury Chairman), Atar Arad, Cathy Basrak (First Prize, 1995 Primrose Competition), Ensik Choi, Steven Dann, Ayane Kozasa (First Prize, 2011 Primrose Competition), and Geraldine Walter (First Prize, 1979 Primrose Competition). Nokuthula Ngwenyama—viola soloist, composer, and 1993 Primrose Competition Winner—will serve as the inaugural Honorary Competition Chair and will write a commissioned work to be performed at the semi-final rounds of the competition.All live rounds will take place at the Colburn School and will be streamed on The Violin Channel. Tickets will go on sale in early 2024.The 4-day American Viola Society Festival will be held concurrently with the Competition on the Colburn School campus, with events scheduled around the competition semi-final and final rounds. The AVS Festival event will also feature recital performances, presentations, masterclasses, youth competitions, exhibits, and much more.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 the Colburn SchoolA 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, 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.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.About the American Viola SocietyFounded 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.Contacts: Lisa Bellamorelbellamore@gmail.com323-500-3071Jennifer Kallendjkallend@colburnschool.edu215-622-6195