June 5, 2017

Freshman cellist wins Klein International String Competition

Jeremy TaiJeremy Tai, a freshman cello student of Bienen School professor Hans Jensen, won first prize in the Irving M. Klein International String Competition. He was also awarded the competition’s Allen R. and Susan E. Weiss Memorial Prize for Best Performance of the Commissioned Work.

Tai receives more than $13,000 in prizes, including performances with the Peninsula and Santa Cruz Symphonies, the Gualala Arts Chamber Music Series, the Music in the Vineyards festival, and other performance opportunities.

Winners were announced June 4 following the final round of competition, where Tai performed Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante in E minor and Grieg’s Cello Sonata in A minor, as well as the commissioned work by Lisa Bielawa, Insomnia Etude #3 – 5:15am.

For the past 30 years, the Irving M. Klein International String Competition has attracted some of the world’s finest young string players to San Francisco each June to compete for cash and performance prizes. Violinists, violists, cellists and bassists age 15 to 23 are eligible to compete. This year’s winners were selected from a pool of nearly 100 applicants. The Klein Competition has achieved international recognition as one of the most prestigious classical music competitions, recognized for the high caliber of the contestants; its unique, nurturing environment; and its commitment to the commissioning of new works.

Jeremy Tai

Jeremy Tai

Cellist Jeremy Tai, 18, has appeared as a soloist with the Utah Symphony, Symphony Parnassus in San Francisco, the Palo Alto Philharmonic Orchestra, the University of California at Davis Symphony Orchestra, and the California Youth Symphony Orchestra. Tai made his solo debut at the Junior Bach Festival in Berkeley, California at age 10 and his national debut at the MTNA National Convention in New York City at age 14. In 2016, Tai gave his first professional recital at Noontime Concerts San Francisco and was chosen as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in Arts candidate. He has been featured on the NPR program “From the Top” as a soloist and as a founding member of the awarding-winning Konpeito Cello Quartet.  

Tai has won the top prize at the Music Teachers National Association National Strings Competition, Mondavi Center National Young Artists Competition, American Fine Arts Festival International Concerto Competition, and Music Teachers’ Association of California VOCE State Competition. He was chosen as a YoungArts National finalist, a semifinalist at the Irving M. Klein International String Competition (2014), and a semifinalist at the Stulberg International String Competition (2014 and 2017).

Raised in Cupertino, California, Tai is an alumnus of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Pre-College program, where he studied with Bienen School alumnus Jonathan Koh (05), a former student of Professor Jensen.