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Glen Kwok leads prestigious violin competition in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — At only 3 years old, the executive director of the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, Glen Kwok, began his journey of success in the world of music.

However, it was his love for the violin that gave him life changing experiences.

He lives in Indianapolis and leads one of the world’s greatest music competitions. “It really has been an incredible part of my life. I’ve always said that through music I’ve literally seen the world.”

He says the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis set the stage in Indiana for some of the world’s greatest musicians. It happens every four years and showcases dozens of gifted, young violinists.

Kwok credited his parents for putting a spotlight on his abilities, but, he says, they later discovered something that changed their lives forever. “There are no professional musicians in my family so when I said that I was going to study music it was a big shock to them. I think they really just wanted me to study it for the discipline, which it provides to children as we know and really for the general joy of it.”

He continued his education at Indiana University and found a mentor who shaped the course of his career. “Josef Gingold. He was a distinguished professor at IU and a mentor to me ever since I was 14 years old.”

Gingold in 1982 became the artistic founder of the International Violin Competition, where Kwok now serves as executive director remembering his legacy. “I said to myself if I would be privileged enough to win this job, then I would be able to give back to the music world in the larger sense just a little piece of what Josef Gingold gave to all of us as his students.”

Kwok says that, while Indianapolis has become more diverse, he stresses, “Regardless of what ethnicity you are, your background people are people and we need to be accepting of everybody. That’s so important as we want to build a loving and accepting society.”

Kwok says Indianapolis has become a role model for other places with musicians’ competitions. “It’s been really exciting to see competitions pop up in different parts of the world and look to us for advice on how to be a fantastic competition.”