2023 Cooper International Competition for Piano Opens

Young pianists vie for $40,000 in cash prizes plus the opportunity to perform with The Cleveland Orchestra.

July 30, 2023

Cathy Partlow Strauss ’84

Cooper Competition yellow, red and white graphic with a violin set on a piano keyboard

Nineteen young pianists from around the world have arrived in Oberlin and have drawn for their order of performance. They will take the stage July 31 through August 4 for the twelfth annual Thomas and Evon Cooper International Competition. Each of them will vie for a share of $40,000—including a $20,000 first prize.

The field features performers who range in age from 13 to 18 and hail from four states and seven countries: Austria, Canada, China, Japan, South Korea, Russia, and the U.S.

These outstanding musicians were chosen from applications that came in from 138 pianists representing 15 countries—Australia, Austria, Canada, China, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, United States, and Vietnam—and fourteen states from coast to coast.

The action begins at 9:00 a.m. Monday, July 31—the first of four consecutive days of free performances at Oberlin presented by the young artists. All rounds will be streamed live at oberlin.edu/cooper.

The excitement culminates at 7:30 p.m. Friday, August 4, as three finalists perform complete concertos with The Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall in Cleveland, under the direction of conductor David Robertson. Tickets start at just $15 and students under 18 years old are free with a paying adult. More information can be found at the Cleveland Orchestra website or by calling 800-686-1141.

The winner takes home a $20,000 first prize, with $10,000 and $5,000 awarded for second and third place, respectively. Each finalist’s prize package also includes a full-tuition scholarship to attend Oberlin Conservatory.

In addition to the top prizes, the competition awards $1,500 to each of the fourth- through sixth-place winners, and also grants an Audience Prize of $500. These are presented at the conclusion of the Wednesday Concerto Round in Oberlin on August 2.

The pianists are listed in order of their drawing and the schedule of their performance during the Semifinal Round on Monday July 31 and Tuesday, August 1. Listings include the participants' age, current residence, and the country or countries they represent.


1. 9:00 am Andrew Sijie Li, 15, Boston, Massachusetts | Canada & Hong Kong
2. 9:45 Jiahong (Ericsson) Lin, 15, West Vancouver, British Columbia | Canada & China
3. 10:45 Antoni Kleczek, 16, Vienna, Virginia | United States
4. 11:30 Sophia Shuya Liu, 14, Montreal, Quebec | Canada

5. 2:00 pm Chanhyung Park, 16, Seongnam, Gyeonggi | South Korea
6. 2:45 Yanyan Bao, 16, Zhuhai, Guangdong | China
7. 3:45 Harmony Zhu, 17, Cresskill, New Jersey | Canada
8. 4:30 Xuanyan Gong, 16, Jericho, New York | China

9. 7:00 pm Fuyin Liu, 17, Munich, Germany | China
10. 7:45 Lindsey Yang, 17, Temple City, California | United States
11. 8:45 Sawako Harada, 16, Chofu, Tokyo | Japan
12. 9:30 Filip Trifu, 18, Vienna | Austria


13. 9:00 am Lewis Fang, 15, Hopewell, New Jersey | Canada
14. 9:45 Seoeun Lee, 14, Suwon, Gyeonggi, South Korea
15. 10:45 Taige Wang, 13, New York, New York | United States
16. 11:30 Yuhe Jin, 16, Shanghai | China

17. 2:00 pm Matthew Chang, 14, Bethesda, Maryland | United States
18. 2:45 Pyotr Akulov, 16, Moscow | Russia
19. 3:30 David Choi, 15, Los Angeles California | United States

TICKETS AVAILABLE NOW: Tickets for the Cooper Competition Concerto Finals at Severance Hall range from $15 to $32, and all students under age 18 are admitted free with a paying adult. Tickets are available at the Cleveland Orchestra website or by calling 800-686-1141.

Monday, July 31
Semifinals: Day 1
The Semifinal Round runs for two days and features 19 pianists performing 40-minute recitals. Sessions begin at 9 a.m., 2 p.m., and 7 p.m.

Tuesday, August 1
Semifinals: Day 2

9 a.m. | Semifinals: Session 4
2 p.m. | Semifinals: Session 5

6 p.m. | Announcement of the SIX pianists who will move on to the Concerto Round.

Wednesday, August 2
Concerto Round
The Concerto Round features six pianists in performances of a full concerto, with piano accompaniment.
2 p.m. | Concerto Round
7 p.m. | Concerto Round

10:00 p.m. | Announcement of the THREE pianists who will move onto the Final Round. Awarding of the 4th through 6th prizes, and Audience Prize.

Thursday, August 3
7:30 p.m. | Honors Recital in Warner Concert Hall
This concert features pianists in performances of outstanding selections from the Semifinal Round.

Friday, August 4
7:30 p.m. | Final Round
Three pianists perform complete concertos with The Cleveland Orchestra, under the direction of David Robertson, at Severance Music Center's Mandel Concert Hall in Cleveland, Ohio.

ABOUT THE COOPER COMPETITION: Founded in 2010, the Thomas and Evon Cooper International Competition is dedicated to presenting an important international competitive opportunity to highly accomplished young musicians. It is made possible through the generosity of Thomas Cooper, a 1978 graduate of Oberlin College, and his wife, pianist Evon Cooper. The Cooper Competition alternates annually between piano and violin and is open to participants between the ages of 13 and 18. Past winners include pianist George Li and violinist Johan Dalene, both of whom have accumulated numerous international competition prizes and cultivated outstanding performance careers.

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