Canadian wins 18th Frederic Chopin international piano competition

WARSAW, Poland — A Canadian man was named as the winner of the $45,000 prize in the 18th annual Frederic Chopin international piano competition.

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Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu, from Montreal, was announced as the winner early Thursday, CBC reported.

Liu was the last entrant among the 12 finalists and played Chopin’s Concerto in E Minor, Opus 11 with an orchestra at the National Philharmonic in Warsaw, Poland, the network reported.

“Oh my God. I don’t know what to say, honestly,” Liu told reporters. “We have been dreaming with all these people here for this prestigious stage.

“Being able to play Chopin in Warsaw is one of the best things you can imagine, of course, so I’m truly honored for this award, of course, and for this jury’s trust and for all the warmth I have received in recent days,” Liu said.

The second prize of $35,000 went jointly to Alexander Gadjiev, representing Italy and Slovenia, and Kyohei Sorita of Japan, according to The Associated Press. Gadjiev won Krystian Zimerman’s prize of $11,800 for the best sonata performance.

The competition is held every five years but was postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic, CBC reported.

Canadian Charles Richard-Hamelin won silver in 2015, the news organization reported.

The top prize was funded by the office of Poland’s president, according to the AP. Other prizes were funded by the government, state culture institutions and by private individuals.

Chopin, Poland’s best-known classical music composer and pianist, was born in 1810 in Zelazowa Wola near Warsaw, the AP reported. He died on Oct. 17, 1849, in Paris and is buried at the Pere Lachaise cemetery. His heart is housed at the Holy Cross Church in Warsaw.

The announcement from the jury came just hours after Liu played as the last entrant among the 12 finalists, performing Chopin’s concerto in E minor, opus 11 with the orchestra at the packed National Philharmonic in Warsaw. His inspired performance was met with huge applause.

“Oh my god. I don’t know what to say, honestly,” Liu said after being name winner.

“We have been dreaming with all these people here for this prestigious stage,” the 24-year-old born in Paris said in English.

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