First Cliburn Junior Piano Competition announces 2015 winners

New U.S.-based international competition for young pianists age 13-17 comes to successful conclusion with numerous prizes awarded.

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Final Round, Cliburn Junior Competition, 2015.
Alim Beisembayev, 17, of Kazakhstan, performs with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Mei-Ann Chen during the final round of the Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival, in Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday, June 28, 2015. (The Cliburn/Rodger Mallison)

FORT WORTH, Texas, June 29, 2015 — The very first Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival (for pianists age 13-17) announced its winning entrants on June 28 at Texas Christian University’s Ed Landreth Auditorium stage, where the final concerto round was held.

Cliburn 2015 Junior Finalists.
Arsenii Mun, 16, of Russia, Alim Beisembayev, 17, of Kazakhstan, and Youlan Ji, 16, of China, answer questions at a news conference after the awards are announced for the Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival, in Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday, June 28, 2015. (The Cliburn/Rodger Mallison)

As in the regular Cliburn International Piano Competition and Festival, during the final round each of the finalists performed a full piano concerto of his or her choice with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, this year under the direction of conductor Mei-Ann Chen. Each choice was subject to approval by the judges and conductor.

Starting with an initial field of 23 youthful pianists hailing from around the world, the three prize winners in this new weeklong competition were announced by 2015 jury chair Jon Nakamatsu. They are:

  • First Prize winner Alim Beisembayev, 17, of Kazakhstan, for his performance of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor, op. 23. He will receive a cash prize of $10,000 plus a scholarship worth $2,000.
  • Second Prize winner Arsenii Mun, 16, of Russia, for his performance of Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, op. 16. He will receive a cash prize of $5,000 plus a scholarship worth $2,000.
  • Third Prize winner Youlan Ji, 16, of China, for her performance of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor, op. 2 She will receive a cash prize of $2,500 plus a $2,000 scholarship.

The three scholarships awarded to the finalists must be put to work within a year by each winner in a way that furthers his or her musical advancement, according to a press release by the competition.


In addition to prizes for the finalists, special category awards were given to select young pianists who didn’t make the final cut in this year’s competition. Additional prizes announced were as follows:

  • Best Performance of a Classical Sonata. $500 was awarded to Misha Galant, 17, United States.
  • Best Performance of a Lyrical Work. $500 was awarded to Adam Balogh, 17, Hungary.
  • Jury Discretionary Awards of $1,000 each were given to Clayton Stephenson, 16, United States, and Tony Yike Yang, 16, Canada.
  • An additional special Audience Award of $1,000, voted on by members of the weeklong competition’s audience, was given to Misha Galant, 17, United States.

The jury also granted discretionary awards of $1,000 each to Yukine Kuroki, 16, Japan; Wei Luo, 16, China; and Evelyn Mo, 16, United States.

Press material from the recent competition says that the final round performances with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra will be available online for a year. As of this writing, the downloads were not yet accessible. The URL for the main site is http://www.cliburn.org/competitions/junior-competition/

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