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Conversations with creators and organizers of the arts scene in West Michigan, hosted by Cara Lieurance

International competition for young musicians kicks off with master classes and Bach

 A finalist performs at The Stulberg International String Competition
The Stulberg International String Competition
A finalist performs at The Stulberg International String Competition

The Stulberg International String Competition will welcome 12 semifinalists from as far away as South Korea for the 48th annual event May 19-20.

In a conversation with Cara Lieurance covering the weekend's activities, executive director Megan Yankee says she and Stulberg board members are excited to welcome the finalists, adjudicators, piano accompanists and members of the Stulberg family for the weekend. The gold, silver and bronze medals will be awarded at the finals concert Saturday night, and the winners will return over the next year to give concerto performances with the Kalamazoo Symphony, the WMU Symphony, and the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra.

One of the 2023 adjudicators, violinist Benjamin Beilman, joins the conversation to recall his own Stulberg experiences (he won the Gold medal in 2007) and how he feels about the responsibility of picking the 2023 prize winners.

This year the competition's events will be held at the Dalton Center Recital Hall at Western Michigan University. They include open master classes from 3-6 pm on Friday, May 19, followed by the Bach Prize Award Night at 7:30 pm, in which the 12 finalists will play their Bach selections. Along with Benjamin Beilman, the other adjudicators are cellist/conductor Anthony Elliott and violinist/composer Jesse Montgomery. On Friday, they will teach the master classes and award the Bach Prize after the concert.

The concerto semifinals, which are free and open to the public, will be held during the day on Saturday, May 20 in groups of three at the Dalton Center Recital Hall. The 48th Stulberg String Competition finals begin at 7:30 pm Saturday in WMU's Dalton Center Recital Hall. Both the semifinals and the finals will be livestreamed to the world.

Cara Lieurance covers local music with live morning interviews, and produces WMUK's Let's Hear It weekday mornings at 10 am Mon-Fri, showcasing local interviews and performances. She also produces The Pure Drop, an hour of Celtic music, with musician Dave Marlatt.