Canadian musician Bruce Xiaoyu Liu won the 18th edition of the prestigious Frederic Chopin international piano competition on Thursday, while Japanese Kyohei Sorita finished second, the organizers said.
Alexander Gadjiev, who represents both Italy and Slovenia, also ranked second. Liu, 24, won a 40,000 euro ($46,000) prize for topping the 12-pianist final of the competition, which is held every five years, in principle, and has launched young pianists onto the world stage.
Sorita, a 27-year-old from Tokyo, became the first Japanese pianist in about 50 years to finish as high as second in the contest that dates back to 1927.
"I'm very happy and I don't have any words," said Sorita, who studies at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw after spending a period at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory.
While thanking his professors and family, Sorita said he is looking forward to getting some sleep after the high-pressure competition. He said he was aware of the competition's popularity in Japan and of how many people from home were watching online.
Martin Garcia Garcia of Spain took third prize, while Japanese Aimi Kobayashi and Polish Jakub Kuszlik were fourth in the competition that was postponed for one year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Kobayashi, 26, who studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in the United States, started playing piano at 3 years of age and won many youth competitions in Japan.
It is the first time in 16 years that two Japanese nationals won prizes in the same edition of the competition. Two Japanese ranked fourth in 2005.
Mitsuko Uchida of Japan, who is now a British national, won second prize in 1970. The competition has been won by some of the world's leading pianists, including Martha Argerich and Stanislav Bunin.