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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world. To listen to KPAC 88.3 FM, simply open the player in the gray ribbon at the top of this page and choose KPAC: Classical Music.

17-Year-Old From Kazakhstan Wins First Cliburn Junior Piano Competition

A 17-year-old fromKazakhstanwon the top $10,000 prize Sunday at the first-everCliburnInternational Junior Piano competition in Fort Worth.

AlimBeisembayevsays his parents watched the live stream of his 5 o’clock Sunday concerto performance even though it was 4 in the morning where they live. The teen moved to England five years ago to study piano and says the hard work paid off.

“It’s been extremely stressful, and had some surprises, but it was really a great pleasure to be here and to be able to get so far,” Beisembayev said.

Russian Arseni Mun, who’s 16, took  second place, and Chinese native Youlan Ji, who’s also 16, got third prize. She studies piano in New York. When the contest began last week, she wasn’t clear on how she’d fit music into her future.

“I’m still not sure yet about a career,” Ji said, “but I think  this definitely helps  with my confidence.”  

She and the others say they hope to get into the main Cliburn Competition when they’re older.   

Copyright 2020 KERA. To see more, visit KERA.

Arseni Mun played his concerto Sunday with the Fort Worth Symphony and Mei-Ann Chen, conductor.
The Cliburn /
Arseni Mun played his concerto Sunday with the Fort Worth Symphony and Mei-Ann Chen, conductor.

First place winner Alim Beisembayev played his piano concerto Sunday in Fort Worth.
The Cliburn /
First place winner Alim Beisembayev played his piano concerto Sunday in Fort Worth.

Third place winner Youlan Ji at the piano Sunday with the Fort Worth Symphony.
The Cliburn /
Third place winner Youlan Ji at the piano Sunday with the Fort Worth Symphony.