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THE SCOOP | Glenn Gould School Student Eric Guo Wins 2nd International Chopin Competition On Period Instruments

By Anya Wassenberg on October 16, 2023

Eric Guo (Photos courtesy of The Fryderyk Chopin Institute)
Eric Guo (Photos courtesy of The Fryderyk Chopin Institute)

Eric Guo, currently in his fourth year of study in the BMus programme at the Glenn Gould School, has won the first prize at the 2nd International Chopin Competition on Period Instruments. He is a laureate of the Fifth Canadian Chopin Piano Competition and was named one of CBC’s 30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians Under 30 in 2019.

The competition, held every five years at the Fryderyk Chopin Institute, comes with a €25,000 cash prize.

For the finals, Eric performed the Chopin’s Concerto in E minor on an 1842 Pleyel. He also won the award for Best Mazurka performance. He is a graduate of The Royal Conservatory’s Taylor Academy, and currently studies with David Louie and John Perry at the GGS.

Along with the cash prize, the win comes with an exciting and far-reaching three-month, 10-concert tour of Europe and Asia that will include stops in Prague, Vienna, Dresden, Madrid, Brussels, Hamamatsu, and Tokyo.

The Competition

The first International Chopin Competition on Period Instruments wast held in 2018. It was created with the goal of performing the work of Chopin with its “authentic sound”.

The competition was open to pianists born between 1988 and 2005, and the list of competitors originally included 35 musicians from 14 countries. Of those, Eric was the only Canadian.

Six of the 35 advanced to the finals to perform with the {oh!} Orkiestra conducted by Václav Luks. The participants had a total of 40 minutes to choose from six pianos they could perform on, and in the first stage, they had to choose at least two.

The instruments included an 1842 Pleyel, loaned from a private collection, as well as a Buchholtz copy of an 1825 model, and a Graf that dated from 1835.

The finals concluded on October 14, and the winners announced at a gala concert on October 15 at the Concert Hall of Warsaw Philharmonic. The international jury, including specialists in historically informed performance, was chaired by Wojciech Świtała.

The list of prize winners includes:

  • 1st prize (€ 25 000) – Eric Guo, Canada
  • 2nd prize (€ 20 000) – Piotr Pawlak, Poland
  • 3rd prize ex aequo (€ 15 000) – Angie Zhang, USA
  • 3rd prize ex aequo (€ 15 000) – Yonghuan Zhong, China

According to the Chopin Institute, “Performances using means similar to those the composer had at his disposal makes contemporary audiences aware of the specific nature of Chopin’s music, and particularly of its distinctive features that are lost if performed on contemporary instruments.”

Said Dr. Artur Szklener, Competition Director, before announcing the winners, “This competition is very special, one has to combine different approaches to different styles of music — this is a very symbolic and historic moment.”

Congratulations to Eric on a much deserved win.


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