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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

ZERO IN | Chopin Competition Scorecards Show Bruce Liu Was The Favourite From The Start

By Michael Vincent on January 3, 2022

Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu (Photo courtesy of the artist/Instagram)
Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu (Photo courtesy of the artist/Instagram)

When it comes to music competitions, the expectations are absurdly high. Musicians are expected to play flawlessly while also being human beings about it.

As one of the jury members, Nelson Goerner, an Argentinian concert pianist, remarked, “Lockdowns due to pandemic have helped to raise standards of this year’s competition.” The reason was they had “more time to prepare.”

This year’s Chopin Competition was a case in point. Judges were not going to hand over a win to just any 19-year-old virtuoso with perfect pitch and a photographic memory. They want some charisma, some personality. They wanted an artist.

And judging by the scorecards, they had their eyes on the pianist Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu, a Canadian dynamo, from the start.

Round One: 23

In the first round, Liu scores a whopping 23, which put him in front by a measure. Judge Piotr Paleczny was the most enthusiastic, giving him a perfect 25/25.

Round Two: 23.03

By now, everyone noticed that Liu’s characteristic style and warm tone were remarkably consistent.

In the second round, he did even better with a first-place 23.03 score. His lowest score from Latvian judge Dina Yoffe in the second round with a single sub 20 score of 19.

Round Three: 23.22

The Fazioli sings under his fingers as he plays Chopin’s Variations in B flat major, Op. 2. His trills alone were so nuanced that they sounded like they were played for the first time by Chopin himself.

By the end, Liu’s 23.22 score landed him the historical distinction of being the first Canadian to win the Frédéric Chopin International Piano Competition on that fateful night on October 20, 2021, in Warsaw.

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Michael Vincent
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