Classic Piano 2024 Enters Final Round; 9 Participants Vying for €250,000 Prize Fund

Classic Piano 2024 Enters Final Round; 9 Participants Vying for €250,000 Prize Fund

Over the past three weeks, from the beginning of February 2024, the spectacular Zabeel Theater in Dubai's 5-star Jumeirah Zabeel Saray hotel has been playing host to the 3rd Grand Edition of the Classic Piano International Competition. 

Classic Piano 2024 Enters Final Round; 9 Participants Vying for €250,000 Prize Fund

Featuring some of the top pianists of our time, gathered together from all around the world through the 14 Ways to Dubai initiative, this contest has pushed each of the participating pianists to the full extent of their abilities, encouraging them to move out of their comfort zones and showcase the very best of their skillset.

Following two solo recital rounds, 18 participants progressed to the third phase, where each of them was required to present two lengthy pieces, back-to-back – the Suite for Piano and Orchestra No. 2 ‘From My Bookshelf’ from Composer-in-Residence Alexey Shor and Mikhail Pletnev, and the Piano concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Now, the eyes of the world are all turning to Dubai as the contest enters its final round, with the participant pool, which once numbered in the dozens, having been whittled down to just nine star candidates for this fourth round, as the stakes get higher than ever before.

Listed by order of performance these nine finalists are:

  • Zhiquan Wang
  • Yanfan Yang
  • Arina Antonosyan
  • Hyounglok Choi
  • Andrey Gugnin
  • Sunah Kim
  • Anastasiia Kliuchereva
  • Marek Kozák
  • Artem Kuznetsov

Within a few short days, one of these pianists will be walking away with a First Prize worth a staggering €150,000, consisting of a €100,000 cash award, and a 10-concert tour with a total honorarium of €50,000. The second-ranked contestant, meanwhile, will be taking home €50,000, with the third being awarded €25,000, and the remainder of the finalists each taking their own smaller shares of the competition's €250,000 total prize fund.

“It’s a great feeling, obviously”, said finalist Artem Kuznetsov. It’s always nice to have a sense of a result after a lot of work. I’ve been in both camps, when you make it and when you don’t, and obviously it’s a better feeling when you do! For the Third Round, I was expecting it to not be easy because two concertos in a row, I have just done it once in my life I think; it’s a tough situation but I’ve been preparing for it and I knew what to expect with it. Playing Mozart after Shor is a bit difficult because it’s a question of concentration, and in the Shor piece there are also  more instruments, more volume, but then to play Mozart after that is a little bit tricky because the orchestra also has to come down.”

As was the case in the third round, the pianists will once again be performing alongside the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra (ASSO) for this phase, who will be led by their Founder, Artistic Director, and Principal Conductor, Sergey Smbatyan. As befits such a crucial stage of the competition, the candidates will have a wide degree of freedom with regard to their choice of repertoire, with each pianist being required to perform one concerto from an extremely varied list that includes seminal offerings from Ludwig van Beethoven, Frederic Chopin, Sergei Prokofiev, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Robert Schumann, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Johannes Brahms, and Franz Liszt.

“I was really impressed by the orchestra and conductor”, Kuznetsov continued. “Even in the rehearsal, we didn’t do anything. We played right through and I played really well and I felt that if I want to change something the conductor is immediately following me and the orchestra is immediately following him, so it felt great. Now for the final I’m playing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1. I’m always excited to play that music and working with this orchestra with the same conductor, playing for this jury… I think it’s going to be a really great time!”

Each performance will be minutely scrutinised by the 15-member jury board that has been overseeing each phase of the competition, including Ashley Wass (UK), Zhe Tang (China), Hüseyin Sermet (Turkey), Marios Papadopoulos (UK), Giuliano Mazzoccante (Italy), Hae-Young Kim (South Korea), Stanislav Ioudenitch (USA), Eleanor Hope (Austria), François-Frédéric Guy (France), Pavel Gililov (Austria), Peter Donohoe (UK), Kirsten Dawes (South Africa/Germany), Epifanio Comis (Italy), Massimiliano Caldi (Italy), and Gisèle Ben-Dor (USA/Israel). 

“It was intensive, of course,” Mazzoccante said, “and difficult because all the participants and all the people that are in the final are very different. Nine is a good number, sometimes they have six or five, but nine is good, and it’s very interesting now because the repertoire is very different – Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, Rachmaniv, Chopin – it’s very interesting because they can show their personality. In these different rounds they have shown such different moments that anything can happen, but there is not one favourite I think. I am very excited for this now! All of them will win prizes now, but of course we have to choose the big winner and I am very happy, and I think all the jury is very interested to see what will happen in the final rounds.”

However, the finalists will have to contend with more than just the pressure of having the jury evaluate their performances, since this final round of Classic Piano, like the third round before it, is being streamed live, and broadcast to all four corners of the world on In addition, the world's leading classical music channel has also sent one of their senior presenters to host a series about Classic Piano itself, incorporating the events on stage, various full-length interviews, and behind-the-scenes segments offering a glimpse into the proceedings. As part of this series, are also presenting a live studio show featuring a variety of esteemed experts within the world of classical music.

In addition, there are of course many other major media partners in attendance in Dubai, including a team from Bachtrack and from the CULT department of Euronews, as well as various local and international classical music platforms, all of whom are eager to see who will be crowned as one of the brightest piano stars of the young generation! 

For all the latest updates about the 2024 Classic Piano International Competition please visit the official website at Piano 2024 Enters Final Round; 9 Participants Left Vying for €250,000 Prize Fund

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