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(Image courtesy: Bruce Xiaoyu Liu)

Chopin International Piano Competition Announces Winners

Canadian pianist Bruce Xiaoyu Liu received first prize and €40,000


Normally held every five years, the 18th Chopin International Piano Competition was postponed to this year due to the pandemic. 

Established in 1927, the competition is considered one of the world’s most significant musical events, popularizing Chopin’s music and bolstering the careers of emerging pianists.

The second prize with €30,000 each went to Kyohei Sorita from Japan and Alexander Gadjiev of Italy/Slovenia. The latter also received the Krystian Zimerman Prize for the best performance of a sonata. 

Third prize and €20,000 was awarded to Martin Garcia Garcia from Spain, who was additionally awarded the Warsaw Philharmonic Prize for the best performance of a concerto. 

Fourth prize winners were Aimi Kobayashi of Japan and Jakub Kuszlik from Poland, each receiving €15,000. 

Fifth prize went to Leonora Armellini of Italy with €10,000, while sixth prize went to Canadian JJ Jun Li Bui with €7000. The remaining finalists received honorary distinctions funded by the president of Poland.

The jury comprised Dmitri Alexeev, Sa Chen, Thai Son Dang, Akiko Ebi, Philippe Giusiano, Nelson Goerner, Adam Harasiewicz, Krzysztof Jabłoński, Kevin Kenner, Arthur Moreira Lima, Janusz Olejniczak, Piotr Paleczny, Ewa Pobłocka, Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń, John Rink, Wojciech Świtała, and Dina Yoffe. 

This year saw a record number of over 500 applicants for the competition. From 87 participants across 17 countries selected from that pool, 12 competitors were chosen to perform one of two piano concertos, accompanied by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra.



The 24-year-old gold medalist Bruce Xiaoyu Liu will also receive prestigious recording and concert contracts. Liu graduated from the Conservatoire de musique de Montreal where he studied under Richard Raymond.

He was the last of 12 finalists to play over three days in the Warsaw Philharmonic Concert Hall with their orchestra under conductor Andrey Boreyko.

“Oh my god. I don’t know what to say, honestly,” said Liu following the results. “Being able to play Chopin in Warsaw is one of the best things you can imagine, of course, so I’m truly honoured for this award, for this jury’s trust, and the public for all the warm regards I have received in recent days,” he said.

Past winners of the competition include Martha Argerich, Garrick Ohlsson, Krystian Zimerman, Artur Blechacz, and Seong-Jin Cho.

For the full list of prize winners, click here.

The prize-winner's concert can be watched below.


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