By Lee Hyo-won
A Chinese pianist won the grand prize at Korea’s foremost international competition in Tongyeong, Saturday, taking home a cash prize of $30,000.
Chen Yunjie, a student at the Juilliard School in New York, was among five finalists at the 2010 Isang Yun competition, which is held annually in conjunction with the Tongyeong International Music Festival (TIMF) in the South Gyeongsang Province city.
He claimed the honor by delivering “a delicate and convincing interpretation” of Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto with the Changwon Philharmonic Orchestra, the competition organizers said. Before participating in the event, Chen championed other competitions, finishing fourth at the Long-Thibauld in France last year.
The second prize ($20,000) went to Italy’s Alessandro Deljava, who won the jury prize at the 2009 Van Cliburn, while Russia’s Elmar Gasanov, the winner of Hungary’s 2006 Liszt-Bartok, claimed third ($10,000). Two young artists from Korea, Lee Ju-eun and Kim Sung-pil, shared fourth ranking ($6,000 each). No fifth prize ($5,000) was awarded.
The winners will be entitled to various engagements including concerts, recitals and CD recordings.
A total of 28 young men and women from 12 countries vied for prizes in the three-part elimination process. This year’s event attracted many more concertgoers as international piano stars such as Yundi, Edna Stern and Ji-Yong gave special performances.
The competition was launched in 2003 to honor Yun in his birth town. The late Korean-German composer was noted for his work in the mid-20th-century avant-garde scene. The music event is held annually around November, involving three different categories for piano, cello and violin.
To learn more about Yun and TIMF, visit www.timf.org.