On Saturday in Dallas, Texas, Australia’s next piano superstar, 16-year old Perth-born Shuan Hern Lee won the 2019 Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition, becoming the first Australian to win a Cliburn competition. Lee won the US$15,000 First Prize with his commanding performance of Rachmaninov’s Concert No 3 in D minor with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ruth Reinhardt. Describing it as “one of my biggest wins,” Lee says that “the Cliburn has an international reputation and the exposure to the half a million online viewers is extraordinary.”

Shuan Hern LeeShuan Hern Lee waits to perform in the final round of the Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition at at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas. Photo © Carolyn Cruz/The Cliburn

The second quadrennial Cliburn Junior Competition, targeted at pianists aged 13 to 17 and held in tandem with the Cliburn International, attracted 230 applicants representing 32 countries. It was the first Cliburn competition to be held outside of its Fort Worth home and will return to Dallas in 2023.

Lee joined two other competitors for the final round of the competition – 15-year-old Russian/Armenian pianist Eva Gevorgyan, and 17-year-old JiWon Yang from...

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