Canadian pianist wins SIPCA crown and scoops $60,000 in prize-money

First prize in the 10th Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia (SIPCA) has been awarded to Avan Yu. The 25-year-old Canadian pianist walks away with $25,000 for the top spot, as well as approximately $35,000 in supplementary prizes, including laurels for best Mozart concerto and best performance of a work by Beethoven.

Yu was named winner on Saturday night at the Sydney Opera House after giving a staggeringly precise rendition of Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini earlier that day.

“Yu was a sensible choice for the winner,” said a SIPCA representative. “He may not have been the most electrifying pianist of the group, but he was the most consistently excellent.”

Second prize in the competition (and around $38,000 in total prizemoney) went to Nikolay Khozyainov, a Russian pianist who, at the age of 20, was the youngest of the six finalists. Khozyainov also won the Sydney Symphony prize awarded to the “best overall performer in the two concertos.”

Third prize was awarded to Ukrainian Dmitri Onishchenko, while fourth, fifth and sixth places were taken by Mikhail Berestnev (Russia), Hoa Zhu (China) and Tanya Gabrielian (US) respectively.

The winners of the top three prizes will now embark on a nationwide tour of Australia. The participation in the tour of Nikolai Khozyainov is reportedly still under question, as his obligations as a student of the Moscow State Conservatorium may require an early return to Russia.

A full interview with the winner of SIPCA 2012 Avan Yu will be published in the September issue of Limelight, on sale August 15. 

All the competition rounds, including the concerto finals with the Sydney Symphony, can be heard on the ABC Classic FM website: