On May 21, 18-year-oldYuanfan Yang from the UK (Senior Division) and 15-year-oldJae Hong Park from South Korea (Junior Division) were named First Prize Winners of the 2015 Cleveland International Piano Competition’s Young Artists competition. The distinguished jury selected the winners from a field of 25 candidates who performed over a ten-day period.
By the close of Thursday’s final performances, the competition’s jurors were faced with a difficult task, as the finalists delivered exceptional performances of their respective concertos with the Canton Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Gerhardt Zimmermann.
On Thursday night, Pierre van der Westhuizen, President and CEO of the Cleveland International Piano Competition, remarked: “For the past 10 days, it has been my privilege and pleasure to work with 25 of the most charming, talented, and dedicated young pianists you can possibly 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.”
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 – the First Prize Winners will share adebut New York recital at The Frick Collection on August 13.
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 About Yuanfan Yang
Yuanfan Yang has won many national and international competitions, including first prize and special prizes at the 2014 International Franz Liszt Competition for Young Pianists (Weimar) and the 2010 European Piano Teachers Association UK Piano Competition. He won the keyboard category of the BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2012, and third prize of the 2013 e-Piano International Competition (Minneapolis, MN). Mr. Yang has performed extensively for many major music societies and festivals, and has played with orchestras including the Royal Northern Sinfonia, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and more. A prolific composer, Mr. Yang also has won multiple prizes in composition competitions. He studies piano with Dr. Murray McLachlan.
“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.” — Mark Satola, The Plain Dealer
About Jae Hong Park
Jae Hong Park has won top honors at several prestigious international competitions, most recently fourth prize at the 2014 Ettlingen International Piano Competition (Germany) and first prize at the 2014 Ewha-Kyunghyang Concours (South Korea). He has performed with the Banatul Philharmonic of Timisoara, Romania and presented a Kumho Prodigy Concert in Kumho Art Hall in Seoul. Mr. Park, a student of Daejin Kim and Eunyoung Hong also has participated in master classes with Phillip Kawin, Wolfgang Watzinger, Jeno Jando, and HaeSun Paik.
“Jae Hong Park 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.” — Mark Satola, The Plain Dealer
ABOUT THE CLEVELAND INTERNATIONAL PIANO COMPETITION The Cleveland International Piano Competition is an organization dedicated to supporting the young artists who have made our musical heritage their life’s work. This is accomplished through four major programs and events, including CIPC Young Artists, the CIPC Concert Series, and ArtsConnect, a music-based community outreach program. The organization presents two major international competitions: The Cleveland International Piano Competition and Festival (CIPC) for artists ages 18 to 30 and CIPC Young Artists for artists ages 12 to 18. The main event, the eponymous Cleveland International Piano Competition and Festival, attracts the best young piano talent from around the world to compete for top prizes; engages an audience of 10 to 15,000 over a period of 15 days; and culminates in two sold-out performances at Severance Hall that feature the four finalists performing with The Cleveland Orchestra.
Photo 1: (from L-R) Jae Hong Park, CIPC President and CEO Pierre van der Westhuizen, and Yuanfan Yang
Photo 2: (from L-R) Leonid Nediak, Yuanfan Yang, Jiacheng Xiong, Chaeyoung Park, Jae Hong Park, Elliot Wuu
Photo 3: Yuanfan Yang
Photo 4: Jae Hong Park