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THE SCOOP | Canadian Becomes Youngest Ever Winner Of European Piano Competition

By Michael Vincent on September 21, 2021

Giovanni Bertolazzi, Kevin Chen, and Kovács Gergely. (Photo courtesy of the Franz Liszt International Piano Competition)
Giovanni Bertolazzi, Kevin Chen, and Kovács Gergely. (Photo courtesy of the Franz Liszt International Piano Competition)

Calgary-based pianist Kevin Chen has won first place at the Franz Liszt International Piano Competition this past weekend in Budapest, Hungary.

At 16, this makes Chen the youngest pianists ever to win the Franz Liszt International Piano Competition.

Chan takes home a first-prize package that includes an award of 30,000 euros ($45,100 CAD) and a series of concert appearances.

With a total of 22 musicians competing, each were gradually narrowed down to the final three over seven days.

The 2021 competition marked the 210th anniversary of the birth of Hungarian composer Franz Liszt and the 100th anniversary of the world-renowned Liszt interpreter Gyorgy Cziffra.

The other winners where Giovanni Bertolazzi (2nd prize), Kovács Gergely (3rd prize), Tamta Magradze (special prize).

Digging Deeper

  • Made his symphonic debut at seven with the Abbotsford Youth Orchestra
  • Has written over 100 works, including four full symphonies for orchestra and one piano concerto
  • Performed with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Island Symphony, Astana Opera Symphony Orchestra, and Minnesota Orchestra
  • Received first place in the e-Piano Junior Competition in July 2019, as well as two additional prizes for the finest Schubert and Russian piece performances. Won the Astana Piano Passion Competition in May of this year (Kazakhstan)
  • Profiled in Maclean’s magazine and named “Top 30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians Under 30” by the CBC
  • Youngest person in Canada to receive First Class Honours with Distinction in his ARCT Performer’s Royal Conservatory of Music test at the age of eight

Keep an eye out for Kevin Chen.

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Michael Vincent
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