“The Russians have got it!” announced the Sydney International Piano Competition’s Artistic Director Piers Lane as he got down to the final two competitors Arseny Tarasevich-Nikolaev and Andrey Gugnin.
29-year-old Andrey Gugnin was announced as the winner of the First Prize, a $50,000 award that also includes a swathe of performance, promotion and recording opportunities.
“The 2016 Competition has proved a vintage year in many ways and in Andrey Gugnin we have found a glorious ambassador and star pianist,” said Lane, “I want to congratulate all six finalists and prize winners for the exceptional and inspired performances they have given to Australian and global internet audiences.”
Gugnin also took out the Best Preliminaries Round 1 Recital, Best Violin and Piano Sonata, Best 19th or 20th Century Concerto, and Best Overall Concerto awards, augmenting his winnings by another $14,000.
Fellow Russian, Arseny Tarasevich-Nikolaev took out second place as well as the award for Best Preliminary Round 2 Recital. Chinese pianist Moye Chen took third place and American Kenneth Broberg received Fourth. Kazakh pianist Oxana Shevchenko – like the first and second prize winners a graduate of the Moscow State Conservatory – took Fifth Prize as well as the award for Best Piano Quintet. Chinese pianist Jianing Kong came in Sixth, also winning awards for Best 18th Century Concerto and Best Semi-Finals Recital.
The People’s Choice Award, voted on by audiences across the competition, went to Chinese pianist Ming Xie, who also won the Alink-Argerich Foundation award and the Medal for Most Promising Competitor.
The only Australian pianist to make it to the Semi-Finals round, Tony Lee, took out the Best Australian Pianist Award and 19-year-old Korean pianist Gyu Tae Ha won the award for Best Performance of an Australian Piece for his performance of the first two movements of Carl Vine’s Piano Sonata in the Preliminary rounds.
Lane explained that in ranking the competitors, the jurors did not discuss the performances, rather they used a form of preferential voting to decide on the winner.
“The standard of this year’s competition has exceeded even our fondest expectations, presenting the nine international jurors with some very tough decisions and I want to thank them for their dedication and stamina over the past three weeks of intense competition,” said Lane.
As the winner of the competition, Gugnin now goes on to performances at the Melbourne Recital Centre, the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Scots College Sydney and the Perth Concert Hall. As part of his prize, he will also perform with Valery Gergiev in the 2016/2017 ‘Contemporary Piano Faces’, Mariinsky International Piano Festival in St Petersburg.