Three Pianists selected for the Cooper Competition’s Final Round

Each will perform with the Cleveland Orchestra Friday, August 4 for a $20,000 grand prize.

August 2, 2023

Shelly Rasmussen

Cooper Competition Judges, Participants and Thomas and Evon Cooper on Warner Concert Hall stage
2023 Cooper Competition awards ceremony following the Concerto Round. Pictured: L-R (back) Thomas and Evon Cooper, Robert Shannon, Boris Slutsky, Dang Thai Son, Stanislav Ioudenitch, Angela Cheng, and Ewa Poblocka, (front) Filip Trifu, Andrew Sijie Li, Sophia Shuya Liu, Taige Wang, Seoeun Lee, Pyotr Akulov, Yanyan Bao
Photo credit: Adan Caldera Quintero

The three days of semi-final performances that have taken place in Warner Concert Hall culminated Wednesday evening with the selection of three pianists chosen to move on to the Concerto Finals at Severance Hall.

The masterful performances that have graced Warner Concert Hall for the past three days culminated Wednesday evening with the selection of three pianists that have been chosen to move on to the Concerto Finals. The concert will take place this Friday, August 4 at Severance Hall in Cleveland.

Pyotr Akulov, (16), of Moscow, Russia, Sophia Shuya Liu, (14), of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and Taige Wang, (13), of New York, New York, United States have advanced to the Concerto Finals.

On Friday, each finalist will perform with the Cleveland Orchestra, under the direction of David Robertson. Friday’s Concerto Finals will also be available via livestream. The concert will feature Liu performing Saint-Sens’ Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 22, Wang performing Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43, and Akulov performing Liszt’s Concerto #1 in E-flat Major, S. 124.

Also honored at the announcement of the three finalists were Yanyan Bao (16 years) of Zhuhai, Guangdong, China; Andrew Sijie LI, (15), of Boston, Massachusetts, Canada, and Hong Kong; Seoeun Lee, (14), of Suwon, Gyeonggi, South Korea; who each earned fourth through sixth place, respectively. Each takes home a prize of $1,500. Filip Trifu, (18), of Vienna, Austria, placed seventh and received a prize of $500. 

The 2023 Audience Prize was awarded to Pyotr Akulov and comes with a prize of $500.

Tickets for the Friday, August 4, 7:30 p.m. Severance Hall Final Concerto performance can be purchased at 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.

Thursday, August 3, is the annual Cooper Honors Recital at 7:30 p.m. in Oberlin’s Warner Concert Hall. Outstanding Semifinal performers will present a free performance of selections from their programs earlier in the competition. This program will be live-streamed at

Details about the participants, jurors, and schedules for each round can be found at the official Cooper Competition website.

Follow the Cooper Competition on Facebook and Instagram for photos, behind-the-scenes action, and up-to-date information.

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