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Eric Lu wins Leeds International Piano Competition

20-year-old American pianist, Eric Lu, has been awarded first place and the Dame Fanny Waterman Gold Medal at the Leeds International Piano Competition 2018.

American pianist, Eric Lu, has been awarded first place at the Leeds International Piano Competition 2018

The 20-year-old, who currently studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, also won the Dame Fanny Waterman Gold Medal and the Terence Judd Hallé Orchestra Prize.

The Competition’s Global Ambassador, Lang Lang, presented the prizes following the last Concerto Final with the Hallé, conducted by Edward Gardner in Leeds Town Hall.

£25,000 cash prize for Eric Lu

In addition to the £25,000 cash prize, Eric Lu receives a portfolio prize designed with long-term career development in mind, which includes:

Second place, £15,000 and the Yaltah Menuhin Award for the greatest collaborative chamber performance was awarded to 28-year-old German pianist, Mario Häring.

Xinyuan Wang, 23, from China, was third and received £10,000.

The Audience Award, which was opened up to a global audience through online streaming by medici.tv, also went to Wang, who will have a concert broadcast by the classical music channel.

Upcoming performances and recordings

On Thursday 20 September 2018, Eric Lu opens Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s new season under the baton of Vasily Petrenko, performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 4 in G major, Op 58. On Friday 21 September 2018, Warner Classics releases a digital single of a highlight from his Competition performances and, on 2 November 2018, a full album, including Lu’s live Concerto performance from the Final with the Hallé as well as a selection of recital repertoire from the earlier Rounds.

Eric Lu receives First Prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition Final 2018 © Simon Wilkinson Photography
Eric Lu receives First Prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition Final 2018 © Simon Wilkinson Photography

Both Mario Häring and Xinyuan Wang will give major recitals in St George’s Hall, Liverpool, on 17 and 18 September 2018 as part of their prize, and will each – like Eric Lu – have an opportunity to give a solo recital at Wigmore Hall in 2019.

A full list of concert engagements for the prizewinners is available here.

From the jury

All the prizewinners will have long-term mentoring from Patron, Murray Perahia, Co-Artistic Director, Paul Lewis – who also chaired the jury – and other members of the performer-led jury, which included Sa Chen, Imogen Cooper, Adam Gatehouse, Henning Kraggerud, Thomas Larcher, Gillian Moore, Lars Vogt and Shai Wosner.

The prize presentations followed the conferment of an honorary degree on Lang Lang from the University of Leeds, the Competition’s Principal Partner.

Lang Lang said:

‘The Finals of The Leeds will stay in my memory for a long time. It has been a privilege to witness so much extraordinary talent on stage and an honour to receive a Doctorate from the University of Leeds. I’m extremely proud of my association with the city of Leeds, with the piano competition – which is doing so much to unite excellence and accessibility – and with the University. It is truly is the city of the piano and I look forward to returning.’

Paul Lewis, Chair of the Jury and Co-Artistic Director of The Leeds, said:

‘All the pianists  have shown extraordinary  talent, passion and  dedication throughout the Competition and it goes without saying that the standard of playing has been remarkable. Many of the world’s greatest pianists have started out at The Leeds and I’m certain all the 2018 Finalists  have bright futures and we look forward to supporting what we believe will be successful and fulfilling careers.’

Header photo: Eric Lu, winner of the Leeds International Piano Competition 2018, performs at the Finals © Simon Wilkinson Photography