Tony Siqi Yun during the final of the China International Music Competition with the Philadelphia Orchestra
Canadian pianist wins inaugural China International Music Competition9:43, 21st May 2019
Canadian pianist Tony Siqi Yun, aged 18, has won the first ever China International Music Competition, an initiative of the China Conservatory of Music and Global Music Education League.
Yun’s prize package includes US$150,000, a gold medal and representation by two leading artist management companies: Opus 3 Artists (US and Europe) and Armstrong Music and Arts (China), which will coordinate three years of international concert tours.
Yun’s winning performance of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No 1 in B-flat minor with the Philadelphia Orchestra was conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and streamed worldwide by Medici.tv. The competition jury chaired by Yoheved Kaplinsky announced Yun’s triumph at the National Centre for Performing Arts.
Second prize of $75,000 and a silver medal was awarded to 17-year old Russian pianist Alexander Malofeev. Third prize of $30,000 and a crystal award went to American pianist MacKenzie Melemed, aged 24.
The results of the competition provoked claims of bias amongst some observers, as reported by commentator Norman Lebrecht on his blog Slipped Disc. Despite the judges swearing not to have taught any of the contestants, jury chair Kaplinsky is chair of the piano department at Julliard where both Melemed and Yun are students. Yun’s recent performance at the CCTV (China Central Television) New Year’s Gala furthermore dubbed him a ‘local favourite’.
Yun made his orchestral debut in 2014 with the China Philharmonic Orchestra in Beijing and has performed internationally, including at the Heidelberger Frühling Music Festival and in the prestigious Severance Hall with the Cleveland Orchestra. Commenting on his success, he said: ‘Words cannot express how I feel to have been awarded this prize. 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.’