The next line of pianists won’t be European

The next line of pianists won’t be European


norman lebrecht

June 25, 2015

These are the finalists, announced today, in the first Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition, taking place in in Fort Worth, Texas:

Alim Beisembayev, 17 (Kazakhstan)

Youlan Ji, 16 (China)

Yukine Kuroki, 16 (Japan)

Wei Luo, 16 (China)

Arsenii Mun, 16 (Russia)

Evelyn Mo, 16 (United States)






  • Brian Hughes says:

    And this is somehow a problem?

    • Delbert Grady says:

      Did someone say it was a problem?

      In any case, this is not a new trend, is it? It’s been the case for a few decades now.

  • william osborne says:

    At the Trossingen State Conservatory where my wife teaches in Germany, there are 27 applicants auditioning for the degree program called “Konzertexam” (more-or-less the German conservatories’ equivalent of a doctoral program.) Twenty-five applicants are Asian and 2 are Western. None are German. The acceptance rate is very low.

  • Hank says:

    I can’t say I care which country a given pianist comes from, or what ethnicity he or she is. Musicality, tone, and technique are more crucial, whether the pianist in question is European, Asian, American, or Martian.

    That said, I note with sadness the decades long decline of musical education in the United States.

    • TBP says:

      Hank writes, “decades long decline of musical education in the United States.”

      Interesting that 3 of these pianists are currently studying in the “declining” US. 🙂

      • Hank says:

        How nice for these three that they are studying in the US. It doesn’t change the fact that public schools, which are where the majority of US students go, have drastically cut back on arts education in the last 30+ years.

  • Musicmatters says:

    The field will eventually even out, as future generations of Asians become more westernized and exert less control over their children’s activities. To be specific, most of the current crop of Asian music students are Chinese – whereas 30 years ago they were mostly Korean.

  • Bang Bang says:

    They haven’t yet realized the futility of the attempt to make a living as a “concert pianist”. Westerners cottoned on to that fact a decade ago.