Yekwon Sunwoo: 2017 Gold Medalist, Van Cliburn International Piano Competition

The Cliburn winner, Yekwon Sunwoo, center, with the bronze medalist Daniel Hsu, left, of San Francisco, and the silver medalist Kenneth Broberg, right, of Minneapolis. Photo credit: Ralph Lauer

Yekwon Sunwoo won the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, besting 29 rivals over two weeks of playing to become the prestigious contest’s first champion from South Korea. Mr. Sunwoo, 28, played Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in the final round, when each of the six remaining contestants performed first with a string quartet and then with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.

The quadrennial Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, widely recognized as one of the world’s most important, was organized by a group of music teachers and citizens from Fort Worth, Texas, in 1962 to commemorate his historic achievement and is dedicated to the discovery of the world’s finest pianists. The Cliburn presented the fifteenth edition May 26–June 10, 2017, at Fort Worth’s Bass Performance Hall.

In its more than 50-year history, the Cliburn has identified and ushered a host of exceptional artists to international prominence, including Barry Douglas, Olga Kern, Radu Lupu, Jon Nakamatsu and Cristina Ortiz.

This project is generously funded by Mid-America Arts Alliance, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the state arts agencies of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.