South Korean Pianist Wins the Van Cliburn Competition

June 12, 2017


Yekwon Sunwoo won the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition on Saturday, besting 29 rivals over two weeks of playing to become the prestigious contest’s first champion from South Korea. The Cliburn, held every four years in Fort Worth, was founded in 1962 by Van Cliburn, the American pianist who stunned the world by winning the Tchaikovsky competition in Moscow in 1958, at the height of the Cold War.

Mr. Sunwoo, 28, played Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in the final round, when each of the six remaining contestants performed first with a string quartet and then with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. The critic Scott Cantrell wrote in The Dallas Morning News that Mr. Sunwoo “tended to rush faster music, a common problem among other competitors — but he demonstrated a real, if not reliably mature, musical personality.”

Two Americans — Kenneth Broberg, 23, from Minneapolis, and Daniel Hsu, 19, of San Francisco — finished in second and third place.





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