South Korean pianist wins the gold in Cliburn competition

FORT WORTH -- After two and a half exhilarating, exhausting weeks of performances — 150 minutes of piano recitals, two concertos, and a piano quintet — Yekwon Sunwoo of South Korea was crowned the gold medal winner of the 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition on Saturday night at Bass Hall.

American Kenneth Broberg, 23, received the silver medal and and Daniel Hsu, 19, also of the U.S., received the bronze.

Sunwoo, 28, is the first South Korean to win the Cliburn. This year’s competition featured five pianists from the small Asian nation, out of the original 30 competitors. As the gold medal winner, Sunwoo receives a cash award of $50,000, three years of career management and performance attire from Neiman Marcus.

After he played Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra on Friday evening, Sunwoo called the performance “refreshing.”

As he spent the day waiting for the awards announcement, Sunwoo went to Sundance Square for lunch and ended up reliving his Friday night performance.

“I went out for lunch at Sundance Square actually right at the time my performance was being played [on the big screen] from last night,” Sunwoo said. “That was kind of strange to have lunch there and see yourself playing.”

Broberg, who also played his final concerto on Friday evening, had all day to wait for the results as well.

“I spent a lot of time in bed watching TV,” Broberg said, adding he was watching cartoons to relax.

Broberg will receive $25,000 as the second-place finisher.

Hsu received the Steve De Groote Memorial Award for the best chamber music performance and the Beverly Taylor Smith Award for the best performance of a new work, the commissioned piece by juror Marc-Andre Hamelin. Hsu won a total of $26,000 in prize money, receiving $15,000 for third place, $6,000 for the chamber award and $5,000 for the new work award.

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Prize winners at the 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition

Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Gold Medal ($50,000) - Yekwon Sunwoo

Silver Medal ($25,000) - Kenneth Broberg

Bronze Medal ($15,000) - Daniel Hsu

Finalists ($10,000) - Rachel Cheung, Yuri Favorin, Georgy Tchaidze

Audience Award ($2,500) - Rachel Cheung

Steven De Groote Memorial Award for the Best Performance of Chamber Music ($6,000) - Daniel Hsu

Beverley Taylor Smith Award for the Best Performance of a New Work ($5,000) - Daniel Hsu


Jury Discretionary Awards ($4,000) - Dasol Kim, Leonardo Pierdomenico and Tony Yike Yang

© 2018 WFAA-TV


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