The entire Heifetz family is supremely proud, and frankly not terribly surprised, that alum and returning 2019 Artist in Residence Zlatomir Fung has been awarded First Prize for Cello at the prestigious 16th International Tchaikovsky Competition. Zlatomir is a 2013 Heifetz Institute alumnus, 2016 Artist in Residence, and a frequent Heifetz On Tour performer.
Zlatomir attended The Juilliard School and New England Conservatory Preparatory School, where he studied with such teachers as Heifetz faculty member Timothy Eddy, Richard Aaron, and Julie Albers. He has also participated in master classes with Lynn Harrell, Frans Helmerson, and Steven Isserlis. He has performed as a soloist with Juilliard Orchestra (conductor Itzhak Perlman), George Enescu Philharmonic, (conductor Dmitry Sitkovetsky), Baltimore Chamber Orchestra (conductor Markand Thakar), Santa Cruz Symphony (conductor Daniel Stewart), and many others, and has won first prizes at the George Enescu International Cello Competition (2016), the Klein International String Competition, the Stulberg International String Competition, and other prestigious international cello competitions.
Watch clips of Zlatomir’s award winning performances from Saint Petersburg below, or you may view his profile and full performance videos through Medici.tv – the official broadcast partner of the 16th International Tchaikovsky Competition. The renowned competition, for participants ranging in age from 16 to 32, was first held in 1958 with the goal of launching the next generation of classical musicians into international stardom—and to underscore the strength of the Soviet classical music tradition. That 23-year-old American pianist Van Cliburn would shock the music world that year by winning first prize was nearly unimaginable. When the jury asked President Khrushchev himself for permission, his reply was, “Is he the best? Then give him the prize.” Van Cliburn was awarded his Gold Medal by jury member Dmitri Shostakovich (appropriately, Zlatomir performed Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 2 in his final program). A decade into the Cold War, this momentous achievement was a beacon of hope, transcending borders and ideological differences.
We also invite you take a look back at some Zlatomir’s memorable performance from the Heifetz stage: