The prodigiously talented Shuan Hern Lee adds another international win to his growing collection.
Shuan Hern Lee, an intrepid 10-year-old from Dianella in Western Australia, has won the first prize of $2000(US) at the Piano Passion International Piano Competition in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Since starting piano lessons at the age of two with his teacher and father Yoon Sen Lee, Shuan Hern has won several major competitions throughout Asia and Europe and is well on his way to becoming a world-class pianist.
Shuan Hern’s latest feat came about after his father received an invitation from the Russian pianist and Chairman of the jury Denis Matsuev to submit a ten-minute DVD to the committee. As many as 130 pianists were then narrowed down to eight, before the gutsy young Australian was invited to travel to Astana for the competition.
No stranger to the competitive arena, Shuan Hern already boasts a wealth of firsts from various piano competitions, both at home and abroad, including the third Chopin International Piano Competition and the Hong Kong Open. He also won the Best Pianist of the Year Award at the 2011 West Australian Pianists Competition and third prize in the Russian Music International Piano Competition.
The second round of the competition saw Shuan Hern perform with the Kazakhstan Philharmonic Orchestra while the seven international adjudicators narrowed the field from eight to four young competitors. The finalists, from Russia, Kazakhstan, China and Australia, performed works by Bach, Haydn, Mozart and Grieg. The final round at the Kazakhstan Concert Hall saw Shuan Hern tackle Grieg’s challenging A Minor Concerto in front of a full house and included a live broadcast – a daunting task even for the most seasoned adult performer. It was this performance that won them over.
To date, the rising young star has performed in some of the world’s most prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall and Steinway Hall, and his diary is quickly filling up with more international engagements. With sensitivity and style beyond his years, and a track record of such magnitude, his latest win comes as no surprise. After the performance, however, Shuan Hern was typically modest, saying: “It was really a big honour.” It was a double win for the father-and-son team with his dad, Yoon Sen Lee, taking out the Best Teacher Award.
Yoon Sen Lee praised the competition policy of awarding significant prizes to all finalists: “This competition is really generous…those pianists who were eliminated in the semi-final round were awarded participation certificates, souvenirs, an iPad 4, and they were all given a concert performance opportunity before they return back to their home country.”
Off-stage, his son has also excelled. At the age of nine Shuan Hern gained his Associate of the Trinity College of London (ATCL) diploma and recently obtained a distinction in his L. Mus. A from the AMEB, apparently breaking the record for the youngest person to have achieved both these awards.
Having launched his debut album, “My Musical Adventures” in 2011, and performed solo recitals with the Mueller International Orchestra and Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, his career is well under way. Next on the agenda is St Petersburg to take part in another piano competition followed by Poland for a July recital, and the prestigious Oxford Piano Festival and Summer Academy to which Shuan Hern has just been awarded a full scholarship.
Back home in Australia, Shuan Hern regularly performs on television and at local events, including the Australian of the Year Awards 2010, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 2011, and the Government House Ballroom Rising Stars Concert series. Shaun Hern will travel to Adelaide for a solo piano recital in August as part of the Recitals Australia series.