Three Pianists Advance to the Cooper Competition's Final Round

July 18, 2018

By Erich Burnett

Three boys in formal attire
2018 Cooper Competition Concerto Finalists Tony Yun, Yunchan Lim, and Kai-Min Chang (from left).
Photo credit: Yevhen Gulenko

Each will perform with The Cleveland Orchestra July 20 at Severance Hall, with a $20K first prize on the line.

The masterful performances that marked the 2018 Cooper Competition's preliminary rounds carried over into the Recital Finals at Oberlin on Wednesday. At the evening's conclusion, three pianists were selected to advance to the competition's Concerto Finals July 20 at Severance Hall in Cleveland.

The Concerto Finalists are Kai-Min Chang (age 17) of Changhua County, Taiwan; Tony Yun (17) of Toronto, Canada; and Yunchan Lim (14) of Siheung-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea.

On Friday, each finalist will perform a complete concerto with The Cleveland Orchestra under the direction of Jahja Ling.

Chang will perform Chopin's Concerto No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 11; Yun will perform Tchaikovsky's Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor, Op. 23; and Lim will perform Chopin's Concerto No. 2 in F Minor, Op. 21.

Friday's concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

Also honored at the Recital Finals were Ryan Zhu (14) of Vancouver, Canada; William Chen (15) of New York, New York; and William Yang (17) of Natick, Massachusetts, who earned fourth through sixth place, respectively. Each takes home a prize of $1,500.

For the first time in Cooper history, the 2018 Audience Prize was shared by Lim and Yun, both of whom earned the prize of $500.

Tickets for the Concerto Finals begin at $13, and all students under age 18 are admitted free with a paying adult. Tickets for the Concerto Finals can be obtained at the Cleveland Orchestra website.

In addition, Oberlin will host an evening of standout performances from the competition's Semifinal Round in a free Honors Concert in Warner Concert Hall at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 19.

Can’t be here? Follow the action live online: Thursday's Honors Concert will be live streamed at Friday's Concerto Finals will be broadcast live by Cleveland's classical music station, WCLV 104.9 FM.

About the Cooper Competition

Founded in 2010, the Thomas and Evon Cooper International Competition is dedicated to presenting an important international competitive opportunity to outstanding 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 George Li and Leonardo Colafelice, both of whom have cultivated outstanding young performance careers.

You may also like…

Mister Rogers’ Neighbor, Francois Clemmons ’67

February 12, 2021

When Mister Rogers invited Officer Clemmons—played by Francois Clemmons ’67—to join him in cooling his feet in a pool of water, the pair was not only spending a refreshing moment together, Rogers was proudly showing his viewers where he stood on civil rights at a time when some public pools prohibited Black swimmers.
Two men sit with their feet in a child's pool.

Persistence, Practice, and Determination

February 2, 2021

Instead of an alarm clock, the sounds of Sergei Prokofiev and Chaka Khan would waft through Caylen Bryant’s childhood home every Saturday morning. Those early days served as inspiration for the jazz bass performance and Africana Studies major. After graduating from Oberlin in 2017, Bryant went on to perfect her own sound, and head a music program handed down to her by author and musician James McBride ’79.
A girl holds a bass guitar in a portrait.