American pianist wins Leeds

American pianist wins Leeds


norman lebrecht

September 16, 2018

The US pianist Eric Lu was awarded first place and the Dame Fanny Waterman Gold Medal at the 2018 Leeds International Piano Competition last night. He also won the Terence Judd Hallé Orchestra Prize.

In addition to a £25,000 cash prize, Lu receives worldwide management with Askonas Holt, an album on Warner Classics and performances on BBC Radio 3. On Thursday Lu will open the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra season with Vasily Petrenko in Beethoven’s 4th piano concerto.

Second place, £15,000 and the Yaltah Menuhin Award went to the German pianist Mario Häring, 28.

Third placed was Xinyuan Wang, 23 from China.

The competition was refreshingly clean of manipulation thanks to the absence of teachers on the jury.

The prizes were presented by Lang Lang.

Eric Lu with conductor Edward Gardner

The winner (sic)* said afterwards: ‘It’s still surreal, and I am a bit speechless. I am deeply honored to have received the First Prize and Gold Medal at the Leeds International Piano Competition tonight. I want to thank my teachers Jonathan Biss, Robert McDonald, and Dang Thai Son. Also to my previous teachers Dorothy Shi, A. Ramon Rivera, and Alexander Korsantia, all of whom have taught me so much.’



  • Andrew Bennett says:

    “The sinner said afterwards”

    After an apparently controversy-free competition, it is unfortunate that the winner is undermined morally.

  • Vince says:

    oh wow, this is the same young pianist that did very well in the last International Chopin piano competition. I think he won a prize or two there as well.

  • Jonas says:

    Member of Jury Lars Vogt was the teacher of Mario Häring for many years.

    • Greg says:

      The level of the competition this year was so absolutely low. No one played at a level deserving to be in the finals aside from Eric and Mario. I don’t know if Eric and Mario could have won gold and silver at any of the other major piano competitions. Certainly not Tchaikovsky.

  • Neil says:

    His Mozart k330 was fascinating. Loved the individual take and way everything was phrased. He has hands like Glenn Gould. Here’s hoping he’ll be as good as Federico Colli (IMHO a superb artist).

  • S says:

    2nd Prize winner is a student of Lars Vogt who was in the jury.

  • M McAlpine says:

    His Beethoven 4 in the final was very special in spite of him being a ‘sinner’!

  • Brucknerliebhaber says:

    Fortunately Yom Kippur is coming up next. Confess Eric ! and you will be ready for Thursday’s Beethoven 4th!:))

  • Caravaggio says:

    Sinner. LOL.

  • Greg says:

    The level of the Leeds competition was so absolutely low this year. No one played at a level deserving to be in the finals aside from Eric and Mario. I don’t even know if Eric and Mario could have won gold and silver at any other major piano competition. Certainly not the Tchaikovsky.

  • Cyril Blair says:

    Congratulations to Eric Lu (and his teachers). I didn’t catch any of this competition but Lu was fantastic at the last Chopin Competition.

  • San Qing Lu Bennaman says:

    Whoever made these negative comments about this LIPC, because the 1st and 3rd prize all went the CHINESE COMPETITORS ! LOL