Canadian pianist wins 18th International Chopin Competition in Warsaw

Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu of Canada has won the 18th International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, organisers announced in the early hours of Thursday.

Bruce (Xiaoiu) Liu from Canada has won the 18th Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw, organisers announced in the early hours of Thursday.

Bruce (Xiaoiu) Liu from Canada has won the 18th Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw, organisers announced in the early hours of Thursday.PAP/Wojciech Olkuśnik

The jury of the prestigious contest descended from the steps of the National Philharmonic at 2 a.m. on Thursday to deliver the verdict, Poland’s PAP news agency reported.

Artur Szklener, the director of the competition and chairman of Poland’s National Chopin Institute (NIFC), said the judges had had an exceptionally lengthy discussion because it “wasn’t easy” to choose the winner.

When the name of the victor was announced, the Paris-born, 24-year-old Liu struggled to contain his emotions. 

“Being able to play Chopin in Warsaw is one of the best things you can imagine, of course, so I’m truly honored for this award, of course, and for this jury’s trust and for all the warmth I have received in recent days,” he said, as quoted by the AP news agency. 

Just hours before, he had performed as the last among the 12 finalists, playing Chopin’s Concerto in E-minoropus 11 with the orchestra before the packed National Philharmonic hall in the Polish capital.

Undaunted by the occasion, the Canadian produced an “inspired” performance, earning “huge applause” from the audience, the AP reported.

Liu had already won several international competitions, including in Montreal and Tel Aviv, and now stands to receive EUR 40,000 from Polish President Andrzej Duda for emerging victorious in the renowned Warsaw event, the Polish state news agency reported.

The second prize and EUR 30,000 went jointly to Alexander Gadjiev, who represented Italy and Slovenia, and Kyohei Sorita of Japan.

Gadjiev also won Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman’s EUR 10,000 prize for best sonata performance.

Spain’s Martin Garcia Garcia came third, winning EUR 20,000 as well as the EUR 5,000 prize for best concerto performance.

The fourth prize and EUR 15,000 was shared by Aimi Kobayashi of Japan and Poland’s Jakub Kuszlik, who also won the EUR 5,000 prize offered by public broadcaster Polish Radio for best mazurka performance.

Launched in 1927 and held every five years since 1955, Warsaw’s International Chopin Piano Competition is a tribute to Poland’s best known and beloved classical music composer.

Success in the contest paves the way to a global career, opening the doors to the world’s top concert halls and record companies.

(pm/gs)

Source: PAP, TVP Kultura, AP

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