Timothy Chooi

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Timothy Chooi
Timothy Chooi with the Sichuan Symphony Orchestra in Chengdu, China.png
Timothy Chooi with the Sichuan Symphony Orchestra in Chengdu, China
Born (1994-12-17) December 17, 1994 (age 29)
Nationality American, Canadian
Years active2010–present
Known for
Relatives Nikki Chooi (brother)
Website www.timothychooi.com

Timothy Chooi is a Canadian–American violinist and professor of Chinese-Indonesian ethnic background. He won the First Prize at the 2018 International Joseph Joachim Violin Competition and Second Prize at the 2019 Queen Elisabeth Competition. He has also won prizes at the International Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition, Michael Hill International Violin Competition and the Grand Prize at the 2010 Montreal ManuLife Competition. [1]


Early life and education

Chooi was born in Victoria, British Columbia to an Indonesian mother and a Malaysian father, both of Chinese ethnic background. As a young child, his father worked in Florida [2] and Chooi moved and immigrated to the United States of America with his family. Chooi went on to complete high school in Pennsylvania and graduated with top honors in 2011. [3] Chooi has one older brother, Nikki Chooi, who is a professional violinist and he previously served as the concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. [4]

He received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music studying with Ida Kavafian and Pamela Frank. Chooi went on to receive his Master of Music and Artist Diploma degree from the Juilliard School, studying with Catherine Cho and also his Professional Studies Diploma studying with Christian Tetzlaff at the Kronberg Academy in Germany. He has previously studied privately with Pinchas Zukerman and Patinka Kopec.


Chooi started playing the violin at the age of three with the Suzuki method at the Victoria Conservatory of Music with Esther Tsang. He made his orchestral debut at the age of seven, performing with his brother and the Victoria Symphony Orchestra. In 2007, he was invited to perform with the Victoria Symphony Orchestra at the celebration concert "Splash" for an audience of over 50,000 people. [5]

In 2010, he was accepted to the renowned Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he studied with Ida Kavafian. A few months after enrolling, he was awarded the Grand Prize award at the 2010 Montreal ManuLife Competition [1] and made his concerto debut with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Jean Francois Rivest. His performance was described as "the miracle violinist" by Montreal's harshest critic, Claude Gingras. [6]

In 2018, Chooi was the first violinist and the first Canadian and American to win the Prix Yves-Paternot from the Verbier Festival bringing him a cash prize of 25,000 Swiss Francs [7] with numerous concert appearances across Europe including a concert at the Verbier Festival. [8]

Chooi rose to international attention when he won the first prize of the 2018 International Joseph Joachim Violin Competition in Hannover, Germany, [9] bringing him a cash prize of €50,000, numerous concert engagements, a recording, and a three-year loan of the "1765" Guadagnini violin from the Fritz Behrens Foundation. He was the first Canadian to ever win the top prize. Shortly after, he won the Second Prize at the 2019 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Belgium and was immediately launched on a concert tour, performing with the Brussels Philharmonic under Stéphane Denève, and recitals across South Korea and Belgium. [10] [11] His most recent artistic collaboration was a tour with Anne-Sophie Mutter and the Mutter Virtuosi where they performed across Europe's greatest concert halls such as the Musikverein Vienna, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Berlin Philharmonie and many more.

Over the years, Chooi has performed around the globe with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London, NDR Radiophilharmonie, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Brussels Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, [12] National Arts Centre Orchestra, [13] Toronto Symphony Orchestra, [14] Auckland Philharmonia, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Santa Barbara Symphony and Sichuan Symphony Orchestra, among others. He has shared the international stage with artists and conductors such as Kent Nagano, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Pinchas Zukerman, Stéphane Denève, Lang Lang, Yuja Wang, Yoav Talmi, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Benjamin Zander.

He completed an Artist Diploma at the Juilliard School studying with Catherine Cho, and a Professional Studies diploma at the Kronberg Academy with Christian Tetzlaff.

In 2021, at the age of 27, Chooi was made the Professor of Violin at University of Ottawa (Canada), one of the youngest professors in the institution's history. [15]


Timothy Chooi is currently performing on two violins–1741 “Titan” Guarneri Del Gesu violin, donated from Canimex of Drummondville, Québec since 2023. [16] Chooi is also performing on 1709 "Engleman" Stradivarius as a recipient of the Nippon Music Foundation in Japan. [17]


In 2010, Chooi was awarded the Grand Prize at the OSM Standard Life Competition (one of the youngest recipients in history). [18]

See also

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