By Daniel Hathaway

Cleveland, OH — August 8, 2011


L-R: Kyu Yeon Kim, Eric Zuber, Alexey Chernov, Alexander Schimpf. Photo by Roger Mastroianni

The Cleveland International Piano Competition awarded $116,000 in prizes and another $26,000 in consolation prizes during the final event of the 2011 Competition in Severance Hall on Sunday afternoon, August 7.

After remarks from host Robert Conrad of WCLV, Dr. James Gibbs, President of the Piano International Association of Northeast Ohio, Karen Knowlton, Executive Director of CIPC, and a nod from jury chair Peter Frankl, who declined to speak (Conrad passed along Frankl’s opinion that he’d talked enough in the last ten days!), the following special prizes were awarded:

The Baroque Prize of $2,500 to Yunjie Chen for his first round performance of Bach’s Partita No. 5.

The Beethoven Prize of $2,000 to Alexey Chernov for his Semi-Final round performance of the Sonata in c, op. 111.

The Cairns Family American Prize of $1,500 to Fei Fei Dong for the best performance of an American work composed after 1944, for her first round performance of Lowell Liebermann’s Gargoyles (1989).

The Chopin Prize of $2,000 to Eric Zuber for his second round performance of the 12 Etudes, op. 10.

The Contemporary Prize of $2,500 to Mateusz Borowiak for his second round performance of Grazyna Bacewicz’s Sonata No. 2 (1953).

The Mozart Prize of $1,500 to Kyu Yeon Kim for her first round performance of the Sonata in B-flat, K. 281.

The Russian Prize of $1,500 to Jae-Weon Huh, either for his first round performance of Sofia Gubaidulina’s Chaconne, or for his Semi-Final round performance of Rachmaninoff’s Sonata No. 2 (revised version).

The Audience Prize of $1,500 to Alexander Schimpf, voted audience favorite during the final round.

The Junior Jury Prize of $1,000 to Eric Zuber.

Then the final four received their awards:

Fourth place winner Kyu Yeon Kim: $10,000.

Third place winner Eric Zuber: $15,000.

Second place winner Alexey Chernov: $25,000.

First place winner Alexander Schimpf, $50,000, plus management services, a New York debut recital at Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall on December 5 (with a preview concert at the Cleveland Institute of Music on November 19), and a CD to be issued by Naxos.

(The eighteen contestants who didn’t advance to the semi-finals will receive prizes of $1,000 each. The four semi-finalists who didn’t advance to the final round will receive $2,000 each).

After a brief intermission for resetting the stage, the four laureates played encores of works they had performed earlier in the Competition. Ms. Kim offered a reprise of her Mozart Sonata (no. 3 in B-flat, K. 281), Mr. Zuber selected five of the Chopin Etudes from op. 10, Mr. Chernov chose Ondine from Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit, then Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz No. 1. Finally, Mr. Schimpf excerpted the first moment of Beethoven’s “Pastorale” Sonata (op. 28) and brought the afternoon to a festive conclusion with Liszt’s 12th Hungarian Rhapsodie. The four laureates shared a big ovation from the good-sized audience.

Though this was the last event of the 2011 competition, outgoing executive director Karen Knowlton will be honored with a concert by former Competition winners on Saturday, February 4, 2012 at the Cleveland Institute of Music. She retires on January 1 after 23 years in that post. More information on the CIPC Web site.