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Lee Hyuk fails to win at Chopin Competition

Pianist Lee Hyuk performs in the third stage of the 18th Chopin Piano Competition at the chamber hall of the National Philharmonic in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday. (EPA-Yonhap)
Pianist Lee Hyuk performs in the third stage of the 18th Chopin Piano Competition at the chamber hall of the National Philharmonic in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday. (EPA-Yonhap)


Korean pianist Lee Hyuk failed to win a trophy at the 18th Chopin International Piano Competition.

Lee, 21, who was one of 12 finalists, did not make the list of awardees announced by the Polish Chopin Institute on Thursday.

The competition, held every five years, was postponed from 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, more than 500 pianists signed up for the competition and some 87 contenders made it to the main competition. Lee was the only Korean contender among the 12 finalists.

Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu from Canada took first prize. Alexander Gadjiev from Italy and Slovenia and Kyohei Sorita from Japan tied for second, while Martin Garcia Garcia from Spain took third. Liu is a pupil of celebrated Vietnamese Canadian pianist Dang Thai Son.

The fourth prize went to Aimi Kobayashi from Japan and Jakub Kuszlik from Poland. Leonora Armellini from Italy took the fifth prize, while J. J. Jun Li Bui from Canada won sixth.

For the finals, Lee performed Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 on Wednesday at the Warsaw Philharmonic Hall. He was the second to last to play.

Lee, who started to study the violin and piano at the age of 3, has been studying with Vladimir Ovchinnikov at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Russia.

The Chopin Competition, founded in 1927, is one of the most prestigious musical events across the world. It is widely recognized by Korean audiences as pianist Cho Seong-jin became the first Korean winner of the competition in 2015. Brothers Lim Dong-min and Lim Dong-hyek won third prize at the competition in 2005.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)
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