Jen and I not particularly well-versed in the goings-on of the International piano competition community (Sorry, Moms), so we hadn’t heard of the Hamamatsu International Piano Competition–a prestigious classical piano showdown that occurs every three years in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, Japan–until we read about its newly-anounted champion today.
South Korea’s Cho Seung-jin took first prize in the 7th Annual competition, a two-week affair that culminated today, making him the first-ever Asian person to nab the top honor (All winners since the contest’s 1991 inception have been European) of the Asia-based tournament.
OH. He’s also 15.
So he’s the youngest-ever winner of the competition. And our Hardass Asian Parents’ wet dream.
Cho typically practices piano for three to four hours a day (six during heavy competition), and what we love about him is that he seems to be both a consummate professional and fun, dreamy, adorably innocent kid.
The Korea Times pulled this excerpt from the judges’ interpretation of his second-round performance, depicting the nuance and wisdom of a veteran:
“Cho’s ‘Daydream for piano’ was softly interpreted withholding sense of strain. He exerted high technique in following Chopin’s Etude 10-1 and Liszt’s Etude d’execution transcendante No. 10,” said an official report on the competition’s Web site, about Cho’s performances on the second round of the event. “In Schumann’s `Fantasiestrueke,’ he distinguished each piece with each different color, and beautifully showed cadence that appeared and then disappeared.”
Meanwhile, what Cho had to say about his performance was simply:
“['Daydream for Piano'] describes a dream but not in sleep, so I imagine the fantasy world, not the real one… [For the Schumann piece] I pictured many images like a night sky while performing. I heard Schumann was a bit crazy, but all pieces of Schumann are beautiful and I like them much.
It seems that Willy Wonka may have had this one pegged, for sure: He is the musicmaker. He is the dreamer of dreams–and with that talent and sweet panache, he is certainly the boy of our dreams.
Filed under: Cho Seung-Jin, Everybody Loves a Winner, Exceptional Young People, First Asian, Hamamatsu International Piano Competition, Hardass Asian Parents, Japan, Music, Musical Geniuses, Piano, Piano Lessons Are Required, Prodigies, Teen Wonders, Youngest-Ever
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