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Brooklyn's Best Young String Musicians Perform in Carroll Gardens

 Asher Kalfus, 9, will perform on the cello at the concert in St. Paul's Church, June 30.
Asher Kalfus, 9, will perform on the cello at the concert in St. Paul's Church, June 30.
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Maggie Richter

CARROLL GARDENS — Nine-year-old Asher Kalfus loved music before he could even crawl.

The young Park Slope musician, whose been playing the cello since he was 4, recently won first place among elementary school students in the first Brooklyn String Competition, held earlier this month.

Asher, along with Brooklyn’s best young string musicians, will perform a final concert at St. Paul’s Church, located at 199 Carroll St., on June 30.

The neighborhood concert, which is free and open to the public, will feature first-, second- and third-place winners, said Kalin Ivanov, chairman of the competition, whose students will also perform.

Having lived in Brooklyn for 18 years, Ivanov wanted to create a competition for the borough’s string musicians in elementary, middle and high school, he said.

The classical music competition, that was open to Brooklyn residents who play the violin, viola or cello, was meant to encourage children to compete and practice more, said Ivanov, a faculty member of CUNY’s Conservatory of Music of Brooklyn College and Preparatory Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College, who sponsored the competition along with other organizations.

Leon Chou, 14, started playing the violin when he was 4 after his mother had asked him to learn the instrument, he said.

While he enjoys the concentration that the instrument demands, it also helps him relax as he often plays during breaks from his schoolwork, Chou said. 

“It’s very refreshing,” he said.

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