Lillian and Maurice Barbash overlooking Lincoln Center

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Five young string players will compete for a grand prize Dec. 1 in the second annual Lillian and Maurice Barbash J.S. Bach Competition, it was announced earlier this month.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s finals competition will be held online at 1 p.m. that day, and streamed free of charge.

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The program will be hosted by Perry Goldstein, chairman of the Stony Brook University Music Department. The finalists, representing top ranked music schools including The Juilliard School, Curtis Institute of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, New England Conservatory, and Queen Elizabeth Music Chapel are listed as followed:

Dongyoung Jake Shim, violin
Maxime Quennesson, cello
Claire Bourg, violin
Geirþrúður Anna Guðmundsdóttir, cello
Celina Bethoux, violin

The judges are Colin Carr, Philip Setzer, Stanley Ritchie, Tanya Tompkins, and Stephanie Chase. Each finalist will perform a work composed by J.S. Bach for unaccompanied string instrument.

The competition was established to honor Long Island residents Lillian and Maurice Barbash for their life-long commitment to the arts.

The winner of last year’s inaugural competition, Rachell Ellen Wong, went on to win the coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant, the first baroque artist to receive this recognition.

“The Stony Brook Department is honored to have been chosen as the host institution for the 2020 Lillian and Maurice Barbash J.S. Bach Competition and is delighted that some of our extraordinary performance faculty are serving on the jury,” Goldstein said. “We commend the competition for giving excellent young performers an outlet for their talents during a challenging time for
musicians.”

“Last year it was notable how much the jury and competitors enjoyed the whole experience,” added juror and Stony Brook faculty member, cellist Colin Carr. “The Barbash Family has given a lot of thought as to how to allow people the space and freedom to perform at their highest level. I was so impressed by the family’s attention to every detail.”