Fort Worth – At the age of 18, South Korean pianist Yunchan Lim Saturday night became the youngest gold medal winner in the history of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 60 years.
At the award ceremony in the Bass Performance Hall, the second silver award went to the biggest competitor, 31-year-old Russian Anna Gnyushin, and the third bronze medal for Ukraine’s Dmytro Chuny, 28.
One of the most famous classical music competitions in the world, Clipburn It offers cash prizes of $100,000, $50,000, and $25,000 respectively to the top three winners. The guarantees of three years of concert tours and professional management are almost certainly the most valuable. The selection was made by an international jury including eminent pianists, with maestro Marin Allsopp as presiding.
In addition to the live audiences in Fort Worth, the competition was heavily followed by other pianists, teachers, conductors, and artistic directors around the world. Via live and delayed video broadcasts.
Lim is the second South Korean in a row, after 2017, Yekwon Sunwoo, to win the first prize. His unique and amazingly mature performance of Liszt Transcendental Studies In the semi-finals he obviously carried the day, and also took home two other awards. This is a tremendous talent to watch.
It’s clear that Jinyoushin is a strong, big musician. Her performance in Op. Brahms. 10. Rhapsody and Op Beethoven. 33 Bagatelle was magical.
Choni’s play is so sophisticated and natural at the same time, it’s clearly another talent to watch.
The concert concluded with an 18-day schedule of solo concerts and, with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, gave concertos. Saturday’s latest concert, led by Allsopp, has featured pianists from three countries tragically in the news lately: Ukraine (Choni), Russia (Gynuchin), and Belarus (Oladzislaw Khandohi).
Saturday night’s gala also presented several other awards.
The two finalists who did not win a medal — Uladzislaw Khandohi of Belarus, Ilya Schmockler of Russia and Clayton Stephenson of the United States — each received a cash prize of $10,000. The semi-finalists received $5,000 each, the quarter-finalists received $2,500, and the preliminary round contestants received $1,000. Thousands of other prizes were also announced.
Distinguished Jury Prizes, $4,000 each:
Patricia and Neil Stephen Family Jury Merit Award: Andrew Lee, 18, United States
Raymond E-bak Jury Merit Award: Changyong Shin, 28, South Korea
John Giordano Appreciation Award President of the Jury: Marcel Takokoro, 28, France / Japan
Other awards were:
$5,000 Beverley Taylor Smith Award for Best Performance in a New Work (this year, jury member Stephen Hough’s Fanfare Toccata): Yunchan Lim
Best Mozart Concerto Performance, $5,000: Ilya Schmockler, 27, Russia
$2,500 Carla & Kelly Thompson Prize Audience: Yunshan Lim
The usually quadrennial Cliburn has been postponed by one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The competition is named after The pianist who grew up in Texas Van Cliburn, whose victory at the Tchaikovsky piano competition in Moscow in 1958, at the height of Cold War tensions, propelled him to instant fame. The competition was launched four years later by fans of the Fort Worth pianist, who moved to the city in 1986 and spoke at award ceremonies before his death in February 2013.
Screening tests identified 30 contestants between the ages of 18 and 31, representing 15 countries (counting the dual nationalities claimed by two pianists). During the first three rounds, the list of contestants was reduced to six finalists.
There have been some changes this year. The preliminary and quarterfinal rounds, intended for solo concerts, were not held at the Bass Performance Hall, but at Texas Christian University’s impressive new 717-seat Van Caliburn Concert Hall.
Then at Bass Hall, each of the 12 semi-finalists played a 60-minute solo, with Mozart’s Piano Concerto with FWSO and guest conductor Nicholas McGuigan. Performances of Mozart’s concerto replaced the chamber music touring that had been a staple of Cliburn.
This represented a third concerto before the two contrasting traditional seasons in the final round. Alsop, who also served as the jury chairperson this time, performed the final round performances.
Geopolitics obscures Cliburn
The Russian invasion of Ukraine was looming over Clipburn this year.
Clyburn’s decision to allow the Russians to compete It sparked a backlash from some who thought it should be banned. Both Dublin and Hoennes piano competitions initially decided to ban the Russians, and later reverse course.
“We were talking about providing a platform for young musicians, wherever they are, and we wouldn’t differentiate between them,” said Jack Marquis, president and CEO of Cliburn.
“Of course, if someone supports the war, we will need to disqualify anyone and send them home. But we still think that these young musicians have nothing to do with this.”