Eighteen-year-old Yuanfan Yang from the UK (Senior Division) and 15-year-old Jae Hong Park from South Korea (Junior Division) were named first prize winners of the CIPC Young Artists competition. The jury selected the winners from a field of 25 candidates who performed over a ten-day period in May.
In his remarks onstage before the final round, CIPC President and CEO Pierre van der Westhuizen said: “Over the course of the event it has been my privilege and pleasure to work with 25 of the most charming, talented, and dedicated young pianists one can imagine. Their work ethic is astonishing. Their level of skill is jaw dropping. But perhaps most important of all, they are filled with all of the joy for life that one would hope for in teenagers – a fact that I find very, very comforting and uplifting. It is clear to me that the future of classical music is very bright – and safe – in the hands of these talented, and thoroughly delightful, young artists.”
Both first prize winners earned glowing reviews from the media. Plain Dealer music critic Mark Satola praised the final round performances of both pianists with the Canton Symphony Orchestra, writing “In the opening Allegro of Grieg’s A-minor piano concerto, Yang was authoritative and never less than brilliant, his clean sound cutting through the orchestral accompaniment like a laser knife.” Of Jae Hong Park, Mr. Satola wrote “He played [the first movement of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3] with a mature artistry, flawless technique and what can only be described as an Apollonian poise that belied his tender years.”
In addition to cash prizes of $25,000 and $10,000, presented by Zoya Reyzis and the Payne Fund (respectively) – which are among the largest cash prizes of their kind for these age groups – Yuanfan and Jae Hong will share a debut New York recital at the Frick Collection on August 13, 2015.
Additional awards presented:
Second Prize: Jiacheng Xiong, 18, China – $10,000, presented by The Hershey Foundation.
Third Prize: Chaeyoung Park, 17, South Korea – $5,000, presented by Peg and George Milbourn.
Second Prize: Leonid Nediak, 12, Canada – $5,000, presented by Clara T. Rankin.
Third Prize: Elliot Wuu, 15, USA – $2,500, presented by Peter and Sue Osenar.
Audience Prize: Leonid Nediak – $1,500, presented by Mr. and Mrs. William Ivancic.
Bach Prize: William Yang, 13, USA – $500, presented by David Osage and Claudia Woods in memory of Dr. William M. Weaver.
Mozart Prize: Elliot Wuu – $500, presented by David Osage and Claudia Woods in memory of Dr. William M. Weaver.
The competition was highlighted by performances from the 25 contestants, four guest artists, and master classes taught by jury members. CLICK HERE to view a photo gallery.