Music

Canadian pianist Kevin Chen, 17, wins 1st prize at Geneva International Music Competition

He was the youngest finalist and picked up more than $56,000 in prize money.

He was the youngest finalist and picked up more than $56,000 in prize money

Canadian pianist Kevin Chen, 17, performs in the final of the 2022 Geneva International Music Competition.
Canadian pianist Kevin Chen, 17, performs in the final of the 2022 Geneva International Music Competition. (YouTube screenshot)

Canadian pianist Kevin Chen, 17, has won the $27,000 first prize at the 2022 Geneva International Music Competition. The results were announced on Nov. 3. The Calgary native was the youngest of the competition's four finalists, and was also awarded the following special prizes:

  • Young Audience Prize ($1,400.00)
  • Rose-Marie Huguenin Prize ($13,500.00)
  • Etrillard Foundation Prize ($6,800.00)
  • De Jussy Concerts Prize ($4,100.00)
  • Société des Arts Prize ($4,100.00)

In the final, Chen played Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1 with l'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, conducted by Maržena Diakun. Watch his performance beginning at 1:36:40 in this video:

Chen was selected as the first prize winner by an international jury chaired by Canadian pianist Janina Fialkowska. The other jurors were Florent Boffard (France), Josu de Solaun (Spain/U.S.A.), Till Fellner (Austria), Momo Kodama (Japan), Marianna Shirinyan (Armenia/Denmark) and Gilles Vonsattel (Switzerland/U.S.A).

Chen was one of 40 pianists chosen from a preliminary screening of 182 contestants. Twelve semifinalists were selected to play a solo recital, from which four finalists advanced to the final where they played a Romantic concerto with orchestra.

Founded in 1939, the Geneva International Music Competition alternates among eight main disciplines: piano, flute, clarinet, cello, viola, string quartet, voice and percussion. Every second year, it offers an additional composition competition.

In 2021, Canadian cellist Bryan Cheng won second prize at the Geneva Competition.

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