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Violinist Alina Kobialka on her Klein Competition Experience

The esteemed violinist will serve as a mentor to the 2024 competitors


The Irving M. Klein International String Competition, produced by the California Music Center, is open to musicians between the ages of 15 and 23. Celebrating 39 years of championing the world’s finest young string players, the Klein International String Competition will take place on June 1 and 2, 2024 at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

As the competition's official partner, audiences worldwide will be able to watch the competition LIVE on The Violin Channel.

We had the pleasure of catching up with Alina Kobialka, a violinist in the New York Philharmonic and previous Klein Competition laureate. We gained insight into her Klein experience and her advice for this year's competitors.


What is your role as a mentor for the 2024 competition? 

As the mentor for the 2024 Klein competition, I'll be providing support and guidance to competitors at every step. That means helping them get into the right mindset, tackling nerves, giving feedback during rehearsals, and being there for whatever else they need. Whether it's professional advice or emotional support, I will be a go-to resource for all aspects of their competition journey.


How does it feel to come back to the competition as an alumni to serve the next generation? How important do you think this is?

Returning to the competition as an alum is a special honor for me. Being able to give back and support the next generation, particularly in the classical music industry, holds immense importance. Music has the power to bring joy and meaning to our lives, and I find great fulfillment in contributing to the support of emerging talent. I'm excited about the prospect of connecting with all the competitors, and I can't wait to witness their growth throughout the competition.


What are you most looking forward to in the competition? 

What I’m most looking forward to is establishing connections with the competitors and getting to know them on a more personal level behind the scenes. I think it will provide a deeper insight into their performances and their creativity and passion for music. I strongly believe that a person's personality shines through in their playing, and I'm particularly interested to see how each player expresses themselves through their music. It adds a unique layer to the whole experience.


Who was your Klein mentor? What did you learn from them in 2016?

My mentor during the Klein competition was Tessa Lark, and the lessons I learned from her in 2016 still resonate with me today. Tessa encouraged me to embrace authenticity, and creativity, and take risks in my performances. I recall feeling nervous on the first day of the competition, and Tessa's warm and fun presence helped calm my nerves. She created an environment where I felt comfortable seeking advice and support. I aspire to provide the same kind of guidance and support to the competitors in the upcoming competition, just as Tessa did for me.


What is your favorite memory from when you competed?

My favorite memory from when I competed was getting to meet so many talented musicians from around the world. Getting to build connections with both new friends and reconnecting with old ones was a truly enriching experience. The competition organizers did an excellent job arranging events that led to a sense of community and camaraderie throughout the competition. It added a special dimension to the overall experience.


How did this experience as a laureate help you in your path to your current position at the New York Phil?

Becoming a laureate was a significant confidence boost, and it pushed me to aim for the highest level in my musical journey. It marked the start of a path where I could explore and shape my artistic voice. Along the way, I gained insights into developing a captivating stage presence and maintaining the right mindset for performances. Those skills have been instrumental in my journey, helping me secure my current position at the New York Philharmonic.


What is your best advice to the competitors this year?

My best advice for this year's competitors is to stay true to yourself. When you’re onstage, connect with the audience authentically, and view every performance as a chance for learning and growth. Believe in your abilities and have confidence in yourself—this will shine through in your performance.

upcoming events

may 2024

06may01junQueen Elisabeth Violin Competition12:00 am - (june 1) 11:59 pm Flagey ASBL-VZW, Pl. Sainte-Croix, 1050 Bruxelles, BelgiumEvent Type :competitions Event Tagscompetition,Queen Elisabeth Violin Competition,violinFOLLOW

27mayAll Day31New York Classic Violin Competition(All Day) Manhattan School of Music, 130 Claremont Ave, New York, NY 10027Event Type :competitions Event TagsClassic Violin Olympus International Competition,violin competitionFOLLOW

june 2024

06junAll Day13Khachaturian International Violin Competition(All Day) Aram Khachaturian Concert Hall, 46 Mesrop Mashtots Ave, Yerevan, ArmeniaEvent Type :competitions Event TagsKhachaturian International Competition,violin competitionFOLLOW

08junAll Day16Premio Paolo Borciani International String Quartet Competition(All Day) Romolo Valli Municipal Theatre, Piazza Martiri del 7 Luglio, 1, 42121 Reggio Emilia RE, Italy Event Type :competitions Event TagsPremio Paolo Borciani International String Quartet Competition,string quartet competitionFOLLOW

17junAll Day22Primrose International Viola Competition(All Day) Colburn School, 200 S Grand AveEvent Type :competitions Event TagsPrimrose International Viola Competition,Primrose Viola CompetitionFOLLOW


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