Entertainment & Arts

South Korean Seong-Jin Cho wins Chopin piano competition

Seong-Jin Cho performs in an early concert at the Chopin piano competition, Warsaw, 3 October 2015 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Seong-Jin Cho took first place in Warsaw

South Korea's Seong-Jin Cho, 21, has won the prestigious 17th international Frederic Chopin piano competition in the Polish capital, Warsaw.

As well as prize money of €30,000 (£22,000. $33,600), this opens the way to performances in some of the world's best-known concert halls.

The competition, held every five years, is one of the few in which pianists play pieces by a single composer.

It has been a launching pad for many internationally-renowned pianists.

Canadian Charles Richard-Hamelin won the second prize, and third place went to Kate Liu of the United States.

"It became my dream to participate in the competition and I cannot believe this moment," said Seong-Jin Cho after the results were announced.

"In the first round I was out of control,'' he said. `"I didn't remember how I played so I checked on YouTube."

But by his final performance of Chopin's Piano Concerto in E minor, Opus 11, he said he was "not so nervous".

The Paris Conservatoire student also won a €3,000 prize for the best performance of a Chopin polonaise.

The competition has been running for 88 years. Previous winners include Maurizio Pollini, Krystian Zimerman and Martha Argerich, who was a judge at this year's competition.

In the Chopin competition in 2010, the prize went to Russia's Yulianna Avdeeva.

In this year's competition, some 78 young pianists took part from 20 different countries.

The contestants spent three weeks playing works by Polish composer Frederic Chopin in a series of concerts.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Charles Richard-Hamelin (r) congratulated Seong-Jin Cho on his victory