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Taylor Academy Alumnus, Emad Zolfaghari, wins 2024 Primrose International Viola Competition

Taylor Academy Alumnus, Emad Zolfaghari, wins 2024 Primrose International Viola Competition

Published on June 26, 2024

Emad is the first Canadian to win the top prize in this prestigious competition's 45-year history

Primrose Winners
from left to right: Kinga Wojdalska, Emad Zolfaghari, Andy Park

After an incredible week of live competition that started with 21 quarter-finalists – Taylor Academy alumnus, Emad Zolfaghari, became the first Canadian to ever be awarded First Prize at the Primrose International Viola Competition. Emad earned US$15,000, an invitation to perform at the 2026 American Viola Society Festival, and an automatic invitation to the semi-finals of the Concert Artists Guild Competition as a result.  

The Primrose International Viola Competition is a biennial competition held at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, California and is one of the foremost international competitions in the world for promising young violists. Leslie Ashworth, an alumna of The Royal Conservatory of Music’s (RCM) Taylor Academy and Glenn Gould School, was also a quarter-finalist.

We are just thrilled to see Emad’s success at the prestigious Primrose Competition. As a viola student of Theresa Rudolph for many years at The Taylor Academy, it was always abundantly clear that Emad was a young artist with enormous potential. On behalf of the entire Taylor Academy, Congratulations, Emad!
Barry Shiffman
Director, The Taylor Academy

In 2018, Emad was accepted as a scholarship student into The Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists where he studied with Theresa Rudolph, Assistant Principal Viola of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for four years. Emad was also a member of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, where he often performed as principal viola.

After graduating from The Taylor Academy, Mr. Zolfaghari was accepted into the Curtis Institute of Music at age 16, where he currently studies with Hsin-Yun Huang. His previous competition successes include first prize at the Irving M. Klein International String Competition as well as the International Morningside Music Bridge Competition, second prize at the Johansen International String Competition and third prize at the OSM String Competition. 

The Taylor Academy was such a huge part in my development! It really was so influential for me.
Emad Zolfaghari
First Prize Winner, 2024 Primrose International Viola Competition

 Watch Emad Zolfaghari's Performance in the Finals:

The Taylor Academy is a unique extracurricular program for gifted young artists (8 to 18) which runs from September through May and is designed around an immersive core curriculum that includes private lessons, chamber ensembles, academic courses, and performances.  

Thanks to the support of generous donors, all students accepted into The Taylor Academy receive a scholarship which subsidizes their tuition and financial aid is also available.