The 17th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition has been won by 21-year-old Seong-Jin Cho from South Korea. He took the Gold Medal and a €30,000 cash prize; he also won the Fryderyk Chopin Society Prize for the best performance of a polonaise. Second prize went to Charles Richard-Hamelin (who also won the Krystian Zimerman Prize for the best performance of a sonata) from Canada and the Bronze was awarded to Kate Liu from the United States (who also took the Polish Radio Prize for the best performance of mazurkas).
Seong-Jin Cho is a pupil of Michel Béroff at the Paris Conservatoire. He won the International Fryderyk Chopin Competition for Young Pianists in 2008, as well as competitions in Hamamatsu, Japan, third prize in the 2011 Pyotr Tchaikovsky Competition and the Arthur Rubinstein competition in Tel Aviv. He has given concertos in the company of conductors like Valery Gergiev, Myung-Whun Chung, Lorin Maazel, Marek Janowski and Mikhail Pletnev.
Ten pianists from eight countries reached the finals and each performed one of the Chopin piano concertos (nine chose the First and only one, Charles Richard-Hamelin, chose the Second). In all, 450 pianists (born between 1985 and 1999) entered, 160 of whom went through to the public rounds with 77 selected for the main competition. Poland fielded the most entrants (14 pianists), followed by China (13), Japan (12), South Korea (eight), Russia (six), the US (four), Italy, the UK and Canada (three each), the Czech Republic (two) and one each from Belarus, Croatia, France, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Latvia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
The competition was presided over by a 16-person jury which included Dmitri Alexeev, Martha Argerich, Philippe Entremont, Nelson Goerner, Garrick Ohlsson and chaired by Katarzyna Popowa-Zydron.