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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Polish president decorates winner of Chopin piano competition

22.10.2021 09:45
Poland’s President Andrzej Duda handed the top prize in the 18th International Chopin Piano Competition to the winner, Canada’s Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu, at an awards gala at the National Opera in Warsaw on Thursday.
Polands President Andrzej Duda (centre) on Thursday handed the top prize in the 18th International Chopin Piano Competition to the winner, Canadas Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu (R), at an awards gala at the National Opera in Warsaw.
Poland’s President Andrzej Duda (centre) on Thursday handed the top prize in the 18th International Chopin Piano Competition to the winner, Canada’s Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu (R), at an awards gala at the National Opera in Warsaw.PAP/Andrzej Lange

Accompanied at the ceremony by First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda, the president thanked all of the contest’s participants “for putting effort and so much emotion” into their performances, which made choosing the winner ”extremely difficult.”

Duda said that “Chopin is a Polish artist and we are all proud of it,” yet at the same time “his music is global,” which is “a source of big pride” for the country.

“In his music, we hear Poland; it evokes images of the Polish landscape: the river Vistula, the willow trees, the open fields,” the president said as he congratulated the winners.

Duda thanked the pianists “for playing Chopin, for making his music and name famous around the world,” Poland's PAP news agency reported. 

The president handed a gold medal to the 24-year-old Liu, whose victory in the Warsaw competition also earned him EUR 40,000 in prize money. 

The highest-ranked Polish contestant, Jakub Kuszlik, shared the fourth prize and EUR 15,000 with Aimi Kobayashi of Japan.

He also collected EUR 5,000 in cash from public broadcaster Polish Radio for best mazurka performance.

Presenting the award, Polish Radio’s CEO Agnieszka Kamińska spoke of “great joy and pride” that the accolade had been won by a Polish pianist.

Polish Radio CEO Agnieszka Kamińska congratulates Jakub Kuszlik at the awards ceremony in Warsaw on Thursday night. Polish Radio CEO Agnieszka Kamińska congratulates Jakub Kuszlik at the awards ceremony in Warsaw on Thursday night. Photo: PAP/Andrzej Lang

Alexander Gadjiev, who represented Italy and Slovenia, and Kyohei Sorita of Japan, shared second place in the competition, worth EUR 30,000.

Gadijev also won Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman's EUR 10,000 prize for best sonata performance.

Spain’s Martin Garcia Garcia came third, winning EUR 20,000 as well as the EUR 5,000 prize for best concerto performance.

Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Gliński said at the ceremony that this year’s International Chopin Piano Competition “was probably the most pianistically accomplished ever” and most avidly followed in history, attracting millions of listeners and viewers worldwide. 

After the prize-giving gala, the winners took to the piano, as the National Opera witnessed the first of three celebratory concerts, Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.

The next two are scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Warsaw’s National Philharmonic.

A tribute to Poland’s best known and beloved classical music composer, the prestigious International Chopin Piano Competition is held every five years and its winners are coveted by the world’s top concert halls and record companies.

(pm/gs)

Source: PAP, TVP