2012 Johansen International Competition


Sponsored by the Friday Morning Music Club Foundation

Frank Conlon, Director

Alice Berman, Executive Administrator



The Sixth Triennial Johansen International Competition for Young String Players (ages 13–17 years) took place on March 21–24, 2012. Some of the most gifted young string players in the world came to Washington, DC, to perform at the Semi-Finals and Finals, which were free and open to the public. A total of 33 semi-finalists representing six countries competed for $66,000 in prize money over a period of three days.

The Johansen Competition is held only once every three years. All events took place at the Calvary Baptist Church, located at 733 8th Street, NW (on 8th between G and H streets), near the Gallery Place/Chinatown metro stop. The Semi-Finals were Thursday and Friday, March 22–23, 2012 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The Finalists were announced on Friday evening. The Finals were Saturday, March 24, 2012 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The winners (see below) were announced and the prizes awarded after the Finals on Saturday. Click here to see photos taken during the competition.

The 2012 Johansen Competition Program includes the repertoire that was performed during the Semi-Finals and Finals, plus information about the judges, pianists, and composer. All semi-finalists also performed the new work commissioned for the competition, "Three-Minute Chaconne," by Jonathan Leshnoff (recently nominated for a Pulitzer Prize). 

Anne Midgette wrote about the JIC in her Washington Post blog. The link to her blog is: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/classical-beat/post/johansen-competition-young-at-art/2012/03/26/gIQAXnmKcS_blog.html.


2012 Prize Winners


 all winners 2012 JIC

2012 Johansen International Competition Winners (left to right): Taeguk Mun, Gallia Kastner, Jean Kim, Santiago Canon Valencia, Gloria Ferry-Brennan, Brannon Cho, Ziyu Shen, Maria Ioudenitch, and Zhenwei Shi.


  • First Prize – $10,000 – Gallia Kastner, Violin #28, age 15, U.S. citizen; from Arlington Heights, Illinois; student of Almita Vamos.
  • Second Prize – $7,000 – Maria Ioudenitch, Violin #8, age 16, U.S. citizen; from Overland Park, Kansas; student of Ben Sayevich.
  • Third Prize – $5,000 – Gloria Ferry-Brennan, Violin #1, age 15, U.S. citiizen; from Langley, Washington; student of Simon James.


  • First Prize – $10,000 – Ziyu Shen, Viola #32, age 14, Chinese citizen; from Shanghai China; student of Li Sheng.
  • Second Prize – $7,000 – No second viola prize awarded.
  • Third Prize – $5,000 – Zhenwei Shi, Viola #17, age 16, Chinese citizen; from Shanghai China; student of Li Sheng.


  • First Prize – $10,000 – Brannon Cho, Cello #16, age 17, U.S. citizen; from Short Hills, New Jersey; student of Hans Jensen in Illinois. (Brannon was also a Finalist in the 2009 Johansen International Competition at age 14.)
  • Second Prize – $7,000 – Santiago Canon Valencia, Cello #33, age 16, citizen of Columbia, South America; from Bogota, Colombia; student of James Tennant in Hamilton, New Zealand.
  • Third Prize – $5,000 – Jean Kim, Cello #29, age 16, U.S. citizen; from Sleepy Hollow, New York; student of Minhye Clara Kim.

Best Performance of Commissioned Work, "Three-Minute Chaconne," by Jonathan Leshnoff

  • Prize – $500 – Taeguk Mun, Cello #24, age 17, citizen of South Korea; from Westbury, New York; student of Minhye Clara Kim.


Concerts Presenting Winners

Many of the winners will be presented in a series of concerts throughout the Washington, DC area during the 2012-2013 concert season. 

To view photos from the concert with Gallia Kastner and the Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra, click here. To view photos from the 2012 JIC Winners’ Recital, click here. The Winners’ Recital was also videotaped by Phyllis Freeman of www.classicalmusiccity.com. Videos of the 2012 and 2009 JIC Winners’ Recitals can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLlw_R8MGvfqiZExQbsVi4SVcEEoQSwPzh.


2012 Composer

Jonathan Leshnoff


2012 Judges

Hiroko Yajima, violin; Michael Tree, viola; Ronald Leonard, cello


2012 Collaborative Pianists

Akira Eguchi, Eri Kang


Eligibility and Requirements

  • Students of violin, viola, or cello, ages 13 through 17 years: Applicants must be neither younger than 13 nor older than 17 as of March 24, 2012.
  • A copy of the applicant's passport or birth certificate is required.
  • Applicants must not be under professional management.
  • Applicants must pay a nonrefundable $85 application fee.


Important Dates

  • December 1, 2011: Postmark deadline for sending application packet and audition CD
  • January 2012: CD auditions held and semi-finalists notified
  • March 2012: Competition Dates

–Rehearsal: March 21, 2012
–Semi-Finals: March 22-23, 2012
–Finals: March 24, 2012


Repertoire Requirements

  1. One unaccompanied work of Johann Sebastian Bach: a sonata, partita, or suite for violin, viola (transcribed), or cello.
  2. One sonata with piano, from the time of Mozart to the present, originally written for violin, viola or cello and piano. This sonata should demonstrate ensemble skills and musicality. No continuo sonatas or transcriptions from harpsichord are permitted. For example, works by Giuseppe Valentini and Giuseppe Tartini are not acceptable for the sonata category.
  3. One concerto or major work for soloist with orchestra (such as "Rococo Variations" or "Schelomo") by a composer other than Bach and the one chosen for your sonata.
  4. One short work or one short movement from a longer work that shows virtuosity.
  5. A new work commissioned for this competition must be performed by all semi-finalists. This work will be sent to semi-finalists in their notification package.

Note: The program for the 2009 Johansen International Competition includes the list of repertoire performed by the semi-finalists and finalists at the 2009 competition.



Contact: Alice Berman, Executive Administrator
email: johansencomp@fmmc.org
phone/fax: 301-946-9531