SAN FRANCISCO - The first prize of the 31st Annual Irving M. Klein International String Competition, carrying a purse of $13,000, has been awarded to 19-year-old bassist William Langlie-Miletich, the first-ever bassist to be awarded the top prize. The Competition Finals were held the evening of Friday, June 3 at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and included four competitors advancing from the Semifinals the previous day, an original group of nine. Langlie-Miletich's winning program for the final round included select movements of J.S. Bach's Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007, Johannes Brahms' Sonata No. 1, Op. 38, and Giovanni Bottesini's Double Bass Concerto No. 2 in B Minor. The second prize goes to cellist Coleman Itzkoff, third prize goes to violinist Alina Kobialka, and fourth prize goes to violinist Evin Blomberg.
"The jury at the 31st Klein Competition was so impressed with the extraordinary musicianship of the nine Semifinalists that they broke with tradition to invite four, rather than the usual three, to take part in the final round, held on Friday evening at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music," remarked Mitchell Sardou Klein, artistic director of the California Music Center. "I am pleased to say that the four Finalists proved to be as brilliant and diverse as hoped, resulting in Final performances as fine as we have ever experienced at the Klein. The first prize winner was double bassist William Langlie-Miletich, a student of Edgar Meyer and Harold Robinson at the legendary Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. He is the first bassist to win the Klein top prize. His performances of music by Bach, Brahms, Bottesini, and the composer of the commissioned works at the Competition, Giancarlo Aquilanti, captivated the audience and the jury."
The full list of this year's selected competitors includes Austin Haley Berman (violin, 20), Evin Blomberg (violin, 22), Sarah Hall (violin, 21), Dongmin Hyun (cello, 18), Coleman Itzkoff (cello, 23), Alina Kobialka (violin, 19), William Langlie-Miletich (bass, 19), Maya Ramchandran (violin, 22), and Jacqueline Tso (violin, 19). The young musicians were selected from a pool of 101 entrants from 10 countries, ranging in age from 15 to 23.
The jury for this year's Competition included Giancarlo Aquilanti (the 2016 KleinCompetition Composer), Janet Horvath, Jodi Levitz, Melvin Margolis, Donna Mudge, Amy Schwartz Moretti, Ian Swensen, and Margaret Tait.
Competitors in the Competition were required to perform at least one movement of an unaccompanied Bach work, a concerto, a commissioned work by Giancarlo Aquilanti, and, for the four musicians selected to advance to the final round, a movement from a sonata with piano.
2016 marks the first year the Klein Competition has taken place at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM). Presented in partnership with the California Music Center, the Klein Competition has earned recognition as one of the world's leading string competitions. The Competition is named for the late cellist and master teacher, Irving M. Klein, who devoted himself untiringly to the development of young artists.
Previous winners of the Klein Competition include Jennifer Koh, Frank Huang, Francesca dePasquale, Angela Fuller, and David Requiro.
For more information, visit kleincompetition.org.
About William Langlie-Miletich
A dynamic performer of multiple genres, bassist William Langlie-Miletich, 19, got his start in music at the age of eight playing the riffs of Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin on the guitar. Since picking up the double bass at the age of 11, Langlie-Miletich has had an extensive performance career in classical, jazz, and many popular genres of music.
Langlie-Miletich has soloed with the Seattle Symphony and has been a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and School, where he performed on NPR's From the Top. He attended Boston University's Tanglewood Institute, was principal double bass of the Seattle Youth Symphony, and was associate principal of the inaugural National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America on its tour of Washington, D.C., Moscow, St. Petersburg, and London.
As a jazz bassist, Langlie-Miletich was recognized in 2014 at Jazz at Lincoln Center'sEssentially Ellington contest as an outstanding bassist. He has performed in the Montreux, Lyon, and Umbria jazz festivals.
Admitted to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia at age 16, Langlie-Miletich is the Milton Levy Fellow, and is in his second year of instruction with Harold Robinson and Edgar Meyer.
First Prize ($13,000, including performances with the Peninsula and Santa Cruz Symphonies, the Gualala Arts Chamber Music Series, Music in the Vineyards, Noontime Concerts and other performances) is given this year in honor of the Chamberlain Family and their long-time support of the California Music Center and the Klein Competition. The prize goes to William Langlie-Miletich (bass, 19).
Second Prize ($5,500, including a performance with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra) is given by Ruth Short in honor of Elaine H. Klein, wife of Irving M. Klein, and for the past 30 years, an active board member and supporter of the Klein Competition and the California Music Center. The prize goes to Coleman Itzkoff (cello, 23).
Third Prize ($2,500) is given this year by David and Judy Anderson, in memory of Judy's father, Milton Preves, who was a violist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for many years and was instrumental in developing the judging procedures for theKlein Competition. The prize goes to Alina Kobialka (violin, 19).
Fourth Prize ($1,500) is presented in memory of Jerry Lee Klein, Irving M. Klein's younger son, who passed away in April. The prize goes to Evin Blomberg (violin, 22).
Fifth Prize ($1,500) is given this year by Loretta O'Connell in honor and memory of Harry Adams. The prize goes to Sarah Hall (violin, 21).
The Roman Goronok Scholarship ($5,000) is a new prize in 2016 and is the result of a new partnership with the international dealer in fine and rare stringed instruments, Roman Goronok. The scholarship will be awarded annually to a selected KleinCompetition Finalist to assist in his/her career development and will be made on the basis of written submissions from Semifinalists, describing how the Scholarship would be of assistance in their growth and practice. The prize goes to Coleman Itzkoff, offering a compelling proposal to conduct educational outreach in Los Angeles and San Francisco schools.
The prize for the Best Performance of the Commissioned Work ($500) is named in memory of Allen R. Weiss and Susan E. Weiss, who were often seen ushering together at the competition, typically wearing a dress and bowtie made from the same fabric. They were tireless volunteers for musical and theatrical organizations, and they spent their lives encouraging children (especially their own) to express themselves through the arts. This year's prize is given by Richard Festinger. The prize goes to Coleman Itzkoff.
The Pablo Casals Prize ($500) is for the best performance of the solo Bach work, in honor of the musical tradition of the great master. It is given by Alan and Flora Grishman to celebrate the memory of his father, Irving M. Grishman, who bestowed the gifts of love and music. The prize goes to William Langlie-Miletich.
Each Semifinalist not awarded a named prize receives $1,000.