American String Teachers Association logoI’m pleased to announce that will be a major sponsor of prize money for the junior division of the prestigious American String Teacher’s Association (ASTA) biennial National Solo Competition taking place in 2011.

The ASTA National Solo Competition has helped launch the careers of many eminent performers, among them, superstar violinist Joshua Bell, who won the Grand Prize in 1981.

“We are very fortunate that Gerald Klickstein – the founder/owner of – has become a champion for this competition especially for the Junior Division portion with dedicated prize money to inspire more young musicians to compete,” said Donna Hale, ASTA executive director.

“We are not surprised that Jerry is doing this as he has served in many volunteer roles for ASTA and is currently a Member-at-Large on ASTA’s national board and a contributor to the American String Teacher journal.”

ASTA’s National Solo Competition includes both junior and senior divisions.

The junior division contestants, all under the age of 19, first compete at the state level; the state winners then enter a national semifinal round.

The final competition will take place during the ASTA national conference on March 16-19, 2011, in Kansas City, Missouri. Approximately four finalists will be chosen in each instrumental category of violin, viola, cello, bass, harp, and guitar.

At the finals, contestants will perform before the public and a panel of distinguished judges. Details about the competition can be found on the ASTA website under “Competitions.” [Update: ASTA has ceased operating a national solo competition, but still runs a National Orchestra Festival; various state chapters continue to hold state solo competitions.] invites other companies and individuals to contribute to ASTA. Donations to ASTA are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.