U.S. Violinist Takes Gold at the Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition

Violinist Nancy Zhou, a 25-year-old from San Antonio, Texas, placed first at the Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition, a prize worth $100,000. Zhou beat 25-year-old Olga Šroubková, from the Czech Republic, for first place with just a one-point difference from the 13 judges.

Third prize, worth $25,000, was awarded to 28-year-old Diana Tishchenko from Ukraine. Fourth, fifth and sixth prizes, each worth $5,000, went to 22-year-old Jia Yi Chen from China, 18-year-old Chang Yuan Ting from Canada, and 26-year-old Yun Tang from China. Šroubková also took home the prize for the best performance of the Chinese work.

Zhou, who is a graduate of Harvard University and studied with Miriam Friend at the New England Conservatory, is a laureate of the 2012 Queen Elisabeth Competition and the 2015 Jean Sibelius Violin Competition. The final round had the six violinists performing the Chinese commission: Qigang Chen’s La joie de la souffrance and a concerto with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Stern.


The jury panel for the live rounds included: David Stern, Vera Tsu Wei-ling, Zakhar Bron, Martin Campbell-White, Glenn Dicterow, Augustin Dumay, Daniel Heifetz, Emmanuel Hondré, Sreten Krstic, Weigang Li, Siqing Lu, Dora Schwarzberg, Philip Setzer, Maxim Vengerov, and Lina Yu.

The first competition was won by Japanese violinist Mayu Kishima in 2016.