Beginning in summer 2010, Oberlin Conservatory of Music joined with The Cleveland Orchestra to offer an important new international competition for young musicians. The competition awarded more than $20,000 in prize money plus a performance with the orchestra.
The Thomas and Evon Cooper International Competition at Oberlin, sponsored by Thomas and Evon Cooper, alternates annually between piano and violin. The program was first offered in summer 2010 for pianists, followed by a 2011 competition for violinists. Open to musicians between the ages of 13 and 18, the competition culminates in a final round at Severance Hall in Cleveland, where the top three competitors perform a full concerto with the incomparable orchestra. Beginning in 2016, overall cash prizes were increased to $40,000, including a $20,000 first prize.