SEOUL, Nov. 14 (Korea Bizwire) — Korean pianist Lee Hyuk has won the first prize at the Long-Thibaud International Competition held in France, along with Japanese pianist Masaya Kamei, according to its organizer.
The 22-year-old played Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in the final contest that closed at Chatelet Theater in Paris on Sunday (local time).
Lee became the second Korean pianist honored at the prestigious classical music competition created in 1943, following Lim Dong-hyek in 2001.
He will receive a cash prize of 35,000 euros (US$36,238) from the organizer and will be invited to some 20 major festivals that would help him launch a career in the professional music world, Fondation Long-Thibaud said on its official website.
The laureate will also be available for financial support, recording opportunities and concert proposals, it said.
Out of 112 applications from 41 countries, 32 candidates were qualified to take part in the eliminatory round and six made the final list this year. Another South Korean finalist, Noh Hee-seong, finished fifth.
Born in Seoul in 2000, the prodigy began learning piano and violin at the age of 3 and has won numerous awards at international competitions.
Among them are the first prize at the Grand Prix Animato Chopin in 2021, the third prize at the Hamamatsu Piano Competition in 2018 and the first prize at the Paderewski International Piano Competition in 2016.
He entered Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory in 2016 and has been taking a temporary absence from school since February due to flight restrictions imposed since the Russia-Ukraine war.
“I felt a lot of stress when I had to leave Moscow,” Lee said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency at Chatelet Theater. “I tried to convey my sufferings in my music and am glad with the result.”
The pianist said he wants to become a “storyteller” who delivers all kinds of human emotions through music.
“Nothing will change whether I win the concours today, or rank second or third tomorrow,” he said. “My goal only lies in developing my musical skills.”