Yunchan Lim of South Korea wins Cliburn Gold medal

Mon Jun 20, 2022 at 3:57 pm
By Richard Sylvester Oliver
Cliburn 2022 gold medal winner Yunchan Lim is flanked by Anna Geniushene and Dmytri Choni, the silver and bronze medal winners respectively.

Celebrating 60 years of empowering young artists through community and well-spirited contest, the Sixteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition came to a close Saturday night with the final round concert and awards ceremony at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth.

Yunchan Lim, 18, of South Korea won the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Gold Medal. That includes a cash award of $100,000, the Van Cliburn Winner’s Cup, three years of career management for U.S. and international tours, and a studio recording.

The silver medalist is Anna Geniushene, 31, of Russia, who received a cash award of $50,000; three years career management and U.S. concert tours.

The bronze medalist is Dmytro Choni, 28, of Ukraine, who received a cash award of $25,000; three years career management and U.S. concert tours.

The remaining three finalists will receive cash awards of $10,000 each. They are Uladzislau Khandohi; Ilya Shmukler, 27, of Russia; and Clayton Stephenson, 23, of the United States.


Saturday afternoon’s concert featured three of the six finalists—Choni, Khandohi, and Geniushene—placing their final bids for first place with impassioned performances accompanied by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra under conductor and jury chair Marin Alsop.

Choni, a prizewinner at nearly 20 international piano competitions and laureate at others like Leeds, Vendome, and Horowitz, employed delicate lyricism with Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto in C Minor. His performance, marked by clear ornamentation, supple phrasing, and pronounced extra-musicality, was affected with tender supplement from the ensemble. His pointed expressionism was especially evident in the songful slow movement. A native of Ukraine, his performance garnered a roaring applause, with swaths of yellow and blue waving throughout the performance hall.

Khandoni, who hails from a family of dulcimer players and won his first grand prix at the age of 10, tackled Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor as his closing maneuver. A stout, declarative exclamation in the opening movement belied the his command of the work’s prevailing lyrical center. However, Khandoni’s technical control never matched the demands of the score.

In what proved a strategic programmatic device, Geniushene closed her final round performances with a prevailing crowd favorite—Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto in B Minor. From the thunderous opening call of the horns and brilliant piano octaves to the vivacious dance-like rondo of the finale, Geniushene furled out heaves of power and drama. Leaning heavy on the dark, booming left-hand demands, she favored bombast over elegance, yet demonstrated a finesse in rolling scales and trilling ornamentations during the third movement.


Best Performance of a Mozart Concerto, with a cash prize of $5,000, was awarded to Ilya Shmukler.

The Beverley Taylor Smith Award for the Best Performance of a New Work, with a cash prize of $5,000, was awarded to Yunchan Lim.

The winner of the John Giordano Jury Chairman Discretionary Award, with a cash prize of $4,000, is Marcel Tadokoro, France/Japan, age 28.

The winner of the Raymond E. Buck Jury Discretionary Award, with a cash prize of $4,000, is Andrew Li, United States, age 22.

The winner of the Patricia and Neal Steffen Family Jury Discretionary Award, with a cash prize of $4,000, is Changyong Shin, South Korea, age 28.

The Carla and Kelly Thompson Audience Award presented by was determined by more than 13,400 votes from 84 countries to The Audience Award winner, Yunchan Lim will receive a cash award of $2,500.

The semifinalists will receive cash awards of $5,000 each.

The quarterfinalists will receive cash awards of $2,500 each.

Preliminary Round competitors will receive cash awards of $1,000 each.

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