Content by Simon Millward at Premier

The First China International Music Competition, newly created by the Global Music Education League and China Conservatory of Music, has announced the twenty-two pianists who will participate in Beijing from May 4 to 21 2019

The competitors, all between seventeen and twenty-eight years of age, have been selected by the world’s foremost international music authorities and come from a total of ten countries: Australia, Belarus, Canada, China, Georgia, Italy, Kazakhstan, Russia, South Korea, and the United States. Several competitors currently attend the world’s leading conservatories, and many have already won prizes at major international piano competitions such as the Cliburn, Chopin, and Queen Elisabeth.

The Competition will award a first prize of US$150,000 and a gold medal, a second prize of US$75,000 and a silver medal, and a third prize of US$30,000 and a crystal award to its top three winners. In addition to this unprecedented purse, the gold medalist will gain representation by two major international artist management companies: Opus 3 Artists in the United States and Armstrong Music and Arts in China, which, combined, will coordinate three years of international concert tours.

The distinguished international jury of the inaugural Competition includes: Li-guang Wang, president of the China International Music Competition, chairman of the Global Music Education League, and president of the China Conservatory of Music; Yoheved Kaplinsky, chairman of the jury and artistic director of the Competition; Dmitri Alexeev; Jan Jiracek von Arnim; Lydia ArtymiwBoris BermanMichel Béroff; Fabio BidiniWarren Jones; Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń; and Arie Vardi. None of the competitors currently study or have ever studied with any member of the jury.

All twenty-two pianists will perform a recital in the Preliminary Round of the Competition. The jury will then select twelve pianists to advance to the Semifinal Round, during which they will perform another recital and collaborate in a vocal recital. In the first phase of the Final Round, six pianists will perform a Classical concerto with the China Academia Orchestra, and then three finalists will be chosen to play a Final Round concert at Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts with The Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by its music director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin. All performances apart from the Final Round concert will take place in the concert hall of the China Conservatory.


Long regarded as the “Cradle of Chinese Musicians”, the China Conservatory of Music has been devoted to the training of professionals in theory, creation, and performance of traditional Chinese and Western music since its founding in 1964. The Conservatory offers all levels of graduate and post-graduate training, including the Music and Dance Postdoctoral Research Center, and is the only conservatory in China offering a doctorate in musical performance research. The Conservatory also houses the Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Chinese National School of Music, a graduate school, a continuing education college, and a middle school. In 2017, the Conservatory established the Global Music Education League, a network of sixty-four universities around the world that promotes cross-cultural exchanges.


Li-guang Wang, president of the China International Music Competition, chairman of the Global Music Education League, and president of the China Conservatory of Music

Yoheved Kaplinsky, chairman of the jury of the First China International Music Competition, chairperson of the Piano Department and artistic director of the Pre-College Division, The Juilliard School

Dmitri Alexeev, piano professor at the Royal College of Music

Jan Jiracek von Arnim, artistic director and chairman of the jury of the International Beethoven Piano Competition

Lydia Artymiw, professor of piano at the University of Minnesota

Boris Berman, head of the Piano Department, Yale School of Music

Michel Béroff, pianist and conductor

Fabio Bidini, piano chair at the Colburn School

Warren Jones, pianist, conductor, and renowned operatic vocal coach

Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń, jury chairman of the International Chopin Piano Competition

Arie Vardi, artistic advisor and chairman of the jury of the Arthur Rubinstein International Master Competition


The Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the preeminent orchestras in the world, renowned for its distinctive sound, desired for its keen ability to capture the hearts and imaginations of audiences, and admired for a legacy of innovation in music-making. The Orchestra is inspiring the future and transforming its rich tradition of achievement, sustaining the highest level of artistic quality, but also challenging—and exceeding—that level by creating powerful musical experiences for audiences at home and around the world.

Since 1973, when President Nixon asked The Philadelphia Orchestra to be the first US orchestra to perform in China, we have enjoyed a unique and special relationship with China and its people. Through concerts and residency activities, the Orchestra’s work in China has been a bridge for people-to-people cultural, educational, and diplomatic exchange.

Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin triumphantly opened his inaugural season of The Philadelphia Orchestra in the fall of 2012. His highly collaborative style, deeply rooted musical curiosity, and boundless enthusiasm, paired with a fresh approach to orchestral programming, have been heralded by critics and audiences alike. The New York Times has called him “phenomenal,” adding that under his baton, “the ensemble…has never sounded better.”

May 4 - 21 2019

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