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Dubai’s Classic Piano Competition Announces 2024 Winners

Andrey Gugnin has won first place and cash prizes totaling €150,000   

 

Founded in the 2017/18 season, the Classic Piano International Competition featured 70 international pianists this year, with finalists performing with the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra and Sergey Smbatyan in Dubai.

The Russian pianist Andrey Gugnin won the event’s €100,000 grand prize with his rendition of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3. 

The 36-year-old also received a 10-concert tour, a €50,000 honorarium, and performances with the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra and Armenian State Symphony Orchestra.

South Korean pianist Sunah Kim, 23, won the €50,000 second prize with her rendition of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4; Russian pianist Anastasiia Kliuchereva, 19, won the €25,000 third prize playing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3.

The €7,000 fourth prize went to Arina Antonosyan of Armenia; fifth prize and  €6,000 went to Chinese pianist Zhiquan Wang; and the €5,000 sixth prize was awarded to Marek Kozák of the Czech Republic.

The UK pianist Yanfan Yang won €4,000 for seventh place; Russian/American pianist Artem Kuznetsov won the €3,000 eighth place; and South Korean pianist Hyounglok Choi won ninth place with €2,000. 

 

A prizewinner of the 2014 Gina Bachauer Piano Competition and 2016 Sydney Piano Competition, Andrey Gugnin has since given solo recitals and performed with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and Mariinsky Symphony Orchestra. 

His discography includes many acclaimed recordings of his live performances and of various symphonic works. In 2023, he won the 12th International German Pianist Prize and €20,000 for a CD production.

Speaking out publicly against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Gugnin left his hometown of Moscow in February 2022 and moved to Zagreb, Croatia. This season, he will begin his role as artistic director of Australia’s OutWest Piano Fest.

“It’s really hard to describe my feelings because it’s a mixture of feeling really good and feeling so exhausted after these three long weeks under enormous pressure, both physically and psychologically,” Gugnin told euronews. “I still cannot really process the fact that I won as it’s not something I expected.

“In the final round, each participant could choose the concerto, so I chose the piece which is most dear to me and the one I’ve probably played the most,” he added. “Despite the enormous feeling of stress and being nervous, I could feel a connection with music and despite being in a competition, the feeling of playing it was a really precious moment.”

 

The competition’s preliminary rounds took place in the USA, France, Italy, Belgium, Austria, Kazakhstan, Poland, UK, Armenia, China, South Korea, Japan, Israel, and Spain.

The 15-member jury comprised Gisele Ben-Dor, Massimiliano Caldi, Epifanio Comis, Kirsten Dawes, Peter Donohoe, Pavel Gililov, François-Frédéric Guy, Eleanor Hope, Stanislav Ioudenitch, Hae-Young Kim, Giuliano Mazzoccante, Marios Papadopoulos, Hüseyin Sermet, Zhe Tang, and Ashley Wass. 

“We’re under strict instructions to only judge on what we see here on any particular day, so I’ve found that my personal views have been shifting from one round to the next, which has been really interesting,” said Wass during the competition on euronews

“Some are far more experienced [in] performing with orchestra than others. The age range represented in the final is vast, with the youngest being 14 and the oldest being 36,” Wass added. “You can imagine the difference that makes in terms of just knowing how to play with orchestra but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything because it’s all about natural instinct and that ability to adapt.”

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