Korean pianist wins top Europe prize

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Korean pianist wins top Europe prize

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Pianist Mun Ji-yeong plays at the 60th Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition in Italy on Friday where she became the first Asian to win the first prize. Provided by K-ARTS

A 19-year-old Korean pianist studying at the Korea National University of Arts (K-ARTS), Mun Ji-yeong, became the first Asian winner of the prestigious Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition in Italy on Friday.

The competition, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, has produced world-renowned pianists including Martha Argerich in 1957. The competition, which was established in 1949, has not named a first prize winner for many years. The judges do not give a first prize if they believe that none of the pianists were good enough.

According to K-ARTS, Mun played Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor for the final round of the competition and received a high score from the judges.

Mun has been making a name in international competitions for the past three years, bringing home top prizes in every competition she participates in, including the Ettlingen International Piano Competition in 2012 as well as the Geneva International Music Competition and the Takamatsu International Piano Competition.

Despite growing up in underprivileged surroundings - she was raised by parents who subsisted on the country’s basic livelihood welfare payment - Mun began learning the piano at the age of 6. As she did not have a piano of her own, she is said to have practiced the instrument at a church and at a piano hagwon, or cram school. Her dream of becoming a pianist is said to have never wavered.

As part of Korea National University of Arts’ Culture Day program next month, which falls on Oct. 28, Mun is planning to perform and have a dialogue with the audience during the “Noon Concert” at the school’s Daehangno campus in central Seoul.


BY YIM SEUNG-HYE [yim.seunghye@joongang.co.kr]

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