First Round of Classic Piano Comes to a Close

First Round of Classic Piano Comes to a Close

35 Participants Move to Round Two

First Round of Classic Piano Comes to a Close

The First Round of the Classic Piano International Competition came to an end on Thursday 6th February, with the competition’s participants gathering in the Zabeel Theatre at the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray hotel to find out which of them had made it to the second phase of the event. 

In all, 35 participants were selected from amongst the cohort, with the 15-member jury panel, consisting of 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), deliberating amongst themselves for a few hours before drawing up the final standings.

“It’s a great project because it’s unbelievable that in two years this organisation was able to select the best five musicians in every different country, in each centre of music around the world, and bring them all here”, said Giuliano Mazzoccante. “To be here it’s a great honour because this is the kind of competition that changes lives, not just for the prize but for the combination of the prizes and the concerts, and the fact that many important people – conductors, managers – are in the jury. We could hear so many musicians from different parts of the world, and it was really interesting to listen to different cultures in this music. Not one better than the other but different, because there are many ways to play great and to be nice and be honest with the music.”

“As we have seen, anything can happen in the first round”, he continued.” You can have a good musician who may have won other competitions but then they come here and it’s a bad day, or they’ve had a terrible month! There were just some of the participants in the first round who were maybe not on the best day of their lives, which can always happen, but I think that there is a very big group that are very good. For this first round 35 people passed which is a lot of pianists, but now it will become very difficult because fewer and fewer will go on, and for the final I cannot even imagine. For them it’s important to maintain the same level in every round, because this is another thing to take into consideration – it’s a long competition, four rounds, it’s not easy for the body, for the brain, and there’s a long programme, many different composers... it’s very interesting and I cannot wait, really!”

Listed in order of performance, these are the participants who have made it to the next phase of Classic Piano:

  • Lee Jaeyoung
  • Lomtatidze Ilia
  • Ma Chang
  • Mamora Jonathan
  • Maruyama Nagino
  • Shiozaki Motochika
  • Suzuki Rin
  • Tsujimoto Rikako
  • Vorontsov Alexander
  • Wang Chun
  • Wang Zhiquan
  • Yuanfan Yang
  • Yu Yichen
  • Yukho Hanna
  • Zhao Kaiwen
  • Antonosyan Arina
  • Bortolazzi Matteo
  • Cai Yangrui
  • Cai Yan
  • Choi Hyounglok
  • Gevrek Salih Can
  • Gugnin Andrei
  • Ha Gyutae
  • Jung Jiwon
  • Kalashnikov Dmitrii
  • Kan Mikhail
  • Khrikuli Davit
  • Kim Sangwon
  • Kim Sunah
  • Kim Isadora
  • Kiourktchian Emin
  • Kliuchereva Anastasiia
  • Kozák Marek
  • Krzyzowski Mateusz
  • Kuznetsov Artem

“This is a huge competition, exactly like the most famous and outstanding piano competitions in the world”, Massimiliano Caldi remarked, “and the jury is huge, which I think makes the difference. When a jury is really international and composed of pianists, managers, agents, conductors…well, the more varied the jury, the more varied will be the way of judgement, which is a guarantee of professionality and of the seriousness of the competition. And everything here is excellent; the organisation is wonderful of course, the venue is very good, the piano is very good, and the level was also very good, except of course for some, maybe some competitors were a bit nervous. The situation is not easy, to play without an audience in an empty theatre with all the light against you, you don’t even see what happens…so it’s not for everybody. And there are so many different elements at play sometimes, that you can’t even pin it down to one thing. But what I know is that today, here and now, I am very satisfied with the results and would like to wish to the marvellous 35 candidates the best second round possible.” 

With this first round now concluded, the successful candidates will have some time to prepare themselves for the second phase, which will kick off on the 9th of the month and run until the 13th. For this part, the pianists will need to present a complete piano sonata by either Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, or Franz Schubert; at least one, or more, compositions by Frederic Chopin, Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms, Robert Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn, Cesar Franck, or Modest Mussorgsky; and a composition written after 1900.

“It’s a very interesting competition”, participant Marek Kozák said. “I already was almost here once in the last edition because I passed from the Berlin competition but unfortunately couldn’t make it to Dubai, so I’m very happy to be here this time. It’s my first time in Dubai, everything’s a bit different but it’s a very nice experience, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what comes next!”

His fellow competitor, Anastasiia Kliuchereva, echoed these sentiments, noting that “I am really enjoying this competition so far because it is very well organised and every competition, from the very beginning in the 14 Ways to Dubai, was very well organised and I really like this format with the preliminary rounds and all these competitions. I find it very interesting. The organisation here is again wonderful, and I really like being in Dubai; it’s my first time and it’s really amazing. Having so many other champions here isn’t something that I particularly see as a challenge; for me I try to focus simply on the performance. I try not to look at it like a competition but more as if it is a concert.”

The 2024 Classic Piano International Competition continues at Zabeel Theatre on February 13th. Make sure to visit the official website at to keep updated on all the latest developments. 



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