18-year-old Canadian winner receives unprecedented prize of US$150,000, plus a gold medal and representation with Opus 3 Artists & Wray Armstrong Music and Arts
Second prize awarded to Alexander Malofeev (Russia) and third prize to MacKenzie Melemed (USA)
Finals took place at Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts with Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra, streamed worldwide by medici.tv
18-year-old Canadian pianist Tony Siqi Yun was today [20 May 2019] announced as the first ever winner of the China International Music Competition, the new competition created by the China Conservatory of Music and Global Music Education League. Now established as one of the world’s most prestigious music competitions, Tony Siqi Yun receives a first prize of $150,000, a gold medal and representation with Opus 3 Artists in the United States and Europe and Armstrong Music and Arts in China which, combined, will coordinate three years of international concert tours.
After a virtuosic performance of Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23 with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the jury chaired by Yoheved Kaplinsky announced him the winner at the National Centre for Performing Arts.
Second prize of US$75,000 and a silver medal was awarded to the youngest competitor in the Competition, 17-year-old Russian Alexander Malofeev who had performed Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major, Op. 26. Third prize of US$30,000 and a crystal award went to the American pianist MacKenzie Melemed, age 24, who had performed Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, Op. 43.
Tony Siqi Yun made his orchestral debut in 2014 with the China Philharmonic Orchestra in Beijing and later played with them in Shanghai. Yun has toured Ireland, Spain, China, the United States and performed in Paris’s Salle Cortot and at the Heidelberger Frühling Music Festival. He has performed the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto in B-flat minor with the Cleveland Orchestra in the prestigious Severance Hall. He collaborated with the China Philharmonic Orchestra in its 2018–2019 season and took part in the filming of the 2019 CCTV New Year's Concert. Yun is currently enrolled in Juilliard's Pre-College Division, where he studies composition and conducting in addition to piano.
Li-guang Wang, President of the China International Music Competition, Chairman of the Global Music Education League, and President of the China Conservatory of Music, commented: “Music unites people and it has been the most incredible experience for everyone concerned at the China Conservatory of Music and Global Music Education League to present 20 great young musicians from around the world. They have shown that great music making is a powerful way of forming relationships that will continue to grow for many years to come. We look forward to welcoming the world to Beijing next year for the second China International Music Competition.”
Yoheved Kaplinsky, Chairman of the jury and Artistic Director of the China International Music Competition, commented: “Tony exhibited professionalism, musicianship, poise and an incredible ability to integrate himself with the orchestra. He was the most sensitive in his interaction with the orchestra and conductor. It was incredibly close between all three as all of them were consistent to the end. What made me particularly happy was that they were all as good as they were different.”
Richard Rodzinski, General Director of the China International Music Competition commented: “In a well-run competition with a good jury, cream is allowed to rise to the top. I sincerely believe that from an artistic and administrative view the cream did in fact rise. In the old-fashioned milk bottles, there was a thin line between cream and the milk, but within the cream there are no lines. Only time and good fortune will tell who will enjoy the big careers, but we are committed to offering them every support through the engagement of top international management and support.”
Tony Siqi Yun said: “Words cannot express how I feel to have been awarded the Gold Medal of the China International Music Competition. It has been an extraordinary time in Beijing, and I am so grateful to the jury and everyone here who have been such great colleagues.”
Audiences around the world were able to watch the finals live for free on medici.tv and they will remain available to online audiences on replay for one month from today, playable on all devices. Music lovers in China and around the world were able to follow the progress of competitors through every round thanks to filming and live-streaming from Amadeus.tv, China’s leading TV and online platform for classical music and the arts, and Youku.com. The 20 pianists who took part in the Competition were selected by the world’s foremost international music authorities and came from a total of ten countries - Australia, Belarus, Canada, China, Georgia, Italy, Kazakhstan, Russia, South Korea, and the United States. Several competitors currently attend the world’s leading conservatories, and many have already won prizes at major international piano competitions such as the Cliburn, Chopin, and Queen Elisabeth.
The distinguished international jury of the inaugural Competition includes: Li-guang Wang, President of the China International Music Competition, chairman of the Global Music Education League, and president of the China Conservatory of Music; Yoheved Kaplinsky, Chairman of the jury and Artistic Director of the Competition; Dmitri Alexeev; Jan Jiracek von Arnim; Lydia Artymiw; Boris Berman; Michel Béroff; Ronan O’Hora; Warren Jones; Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń; and Arie Vardi.
None of the competitors currently study or have ever studied with any member of the jury.
The China International Music Competition will be held every year and next year’s competition will be dedicated to the violin.