Yunchan Lim youngest ever to win Van Cliburn Competition

Gold medalist Yunchan Lim of South Korea performs during The Cliburn International Piano Competition. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez courtesy The Cliburn)

History was made at this year’s 16th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition as 18-year-old Yunchan Lim of South Korea became the youngest competitor ever to win the world renowned event.

In addition to winning the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass gold medal and the Van Cliburn Winner’s Cup, Lim received a cash award of $100,000; three years individualized career management, including U.S. and international concert tours; a Steinway Recording Prize Studio Album; a promotional package, including press kits, videos and website; and performance attire provided by Neiman Marcus.

Lim also received a cash award of $2,500 for winning the Carla and Kelly Thompson Audience Award presented by (determined by more than 13,400 votes from 84 countries).

Held at TCU’s Van Cliburn Hall and Bass Performance Hall, The Cliburn concluded Saturday (June 18) after two and a half weeks of intense competition featuring the world’s finest young pianists.

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“It has been inspiring to witness a talent of Yunchan’s magnitude. All finalists showed exceptional musicality and artistry, yet Yunchan stood out among them,” said Jury Chair Marin Alsop. “Throughout these last three weeks, but particularly his spectacular performance of Rachmaninov’s third piano concerto showed that even at the age of 18 he already exhibits exceptional depth and dazzling technique. I look forward to seeing him develop in the years to come and our future collaborations.”

The silver medalist is Anna Geniushene, Russia, 31, who will receive a cash award of $50,000; three years individualized career management and U.S. concert tours; a promotional package including press kits, videos, and website; and performance attire.

Bronze medalist Dmytro Choni, Ukraine, 28, will receive a cash award of $25,000; three years individualized career management and U.S. concert tours; promotional package and performance attire.

The remaining three finalists will receive cash awards of $10,000 each. They are Uladzislau Khandohi, Belarus, 20; Ilya Shmukler, Russia, 27; and Clayton Stephenson, United States, 23.

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Semifinalists will receive cash awards of $5,000 each; quarterfinalists were awarded $2,500 each; and preliminary round competitors earned $1,000 each.

“Sixty years ago, inspired by Van Cliburn’s legacy, the first Cliburn Competition was held,” said Jacques Marquis, Cliburn president and CEO. “It had two main objectives: to discover and support young, exceptional artists, and to bring this beautiful music to the world. Today, we’re proud to say that these have both held true with this sixteenth edition. It brought us all together for a glorious 17 days that knew no boundaries, for a moving celebration of great music. These pianists have been truly inspirational.”

The Cliburn 2022 webcast broke previous Cliburn streaming records with a global online audience of over nine million following the competition in more than 170 countries.

As part of the Cliburn’s solidarity with the Ukrainian people, the Ukrainian National Anthem was performed in the Awards Ceremony by Kyiv-born 2013 Cliburn Gold Medalist Vadym Kholodenko.

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Other awards:

  • Best Performance of a Mozart Concerto, cash prize of $5,000, Ilya Shmukler.
  • Beverley Taylor Smith Award for Best Performance of a New Work, cash prize of $5,000, Yunchan Lim.
  • John Giordano Jury Chairman Discretionary Award, cash prize of $4,000, Marcel Tadokoro, France/Japan.
  • Raymond E. Buck Jury Discretionary Award, cash prize of $4,000, Andrew Li, United States.
  • Patricia and Neal Steffen Family Jury Discretionary Award, cash prize of $4,000, Changyong Shin, South Korea.