18-Year-Old Korean Student Wins Leeds International Piano Competition

Classic Arts News   18-Year-Old Korean Student Wins Leeds International Piano Competition
 
Sunwook Kim, an 18-year-old student from South Korea, has won the Ô£14,000 first prize at the 15th Leeds International Pianoforte Competition, which concluded last Saturday (September 23) at Town Hall in the northern English city.

The Hall_ Orchestra and Mark Elder accompanied the finals, of which one round took place September 22 and the other September 23.

Second prize and Ô£10,000 went to Andrew Brownell, 27, from Oregon, who also won the Benjamin Britten special prize. Denis Kozhukhin, 20, from Russia, won third prize and Ô£6,000; 4th prize and Ô£4,500 went to Siheng Song, 24, from China; 5th prize and Ô£3,500 was awarded to Sung-Hoon Kim, 28, from South Korea; and 6th prize and Ô£3,000 went to Grace Fong, 27, of Ohio.

No British contestants placed in the finals.

In The Times of London, Geoff Brown wrote that "in a generally low-voltage bunch the spark-strikers immediately stood out," adding that Sunwook Kim, who played Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 1, "deserved the first prize," while a few more years may benefit "the other sparker, Denis Kozhukhin ... the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 found him romantic but messy."

Meanwhile, Brown said that the American Andrew Brownell, who placed second, "displayed the opposite qualities in the kaleidoscope of Prokofiev's Third Concerto. He oozed confidence, crispness and know-how; he certainly knows about interacting with an orchestra, not Kuzhukhin's forte."

Brown described the fourth-place winner, Siheng Song, as "energetic but impersonal in the whirlwind of Prokofiev No. 1."

The Leeds International Pianoforte Competition was founded in 1963 by British pianist and teacher Fanny Waterman, who remains its chairman and artistic director. Previous winners of note include Radu Lupu and Murray Perahia, who won first prize in 1969 and 1972, respectively; Louis Lortie, who placed fourth in 1984; Boris Berezovsky, who placed fourth in 1987; and Lars Vogt, who placed second in 1990.


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