New England Conservatory is thrilled to share the recent success of our community members at the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition held in Fort Worth, Texas. The competition is held once every four years, and is often referred to as “the Olympics of piano-playing," with last year’s event being postponed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Clayton Stephenson '23 NEC/Harvard was one of the six remarkable finalists who advanced to the final round and won $10,000, with Andrew Li ’23 NEC/Harvard and Changyong Shin ‘24 AD also receiving Jury Discretionary Awards and prizes of $4,000 each. All three students are taught by Wha Kyung Byun. Two students of Alexander Korsantia were also admitted to the competition: Yutong Sun ‘22 GD, who went to the semifinals, and Yuki Yoshimi ‘24, who went to the quarterfinals – an incredible achievement for our community and testament to NEC’s wonderful piano faculty.
NEC also enjoys a special connection to 18-year-old gold medal winner Yunchan Lim, the youngest gold medalist in the Cliburn’s history, whose sole teacher, Korea National University of Arts professor Minsoo Sohn ‘99, ‘01 GD, ‘04 AD is a notable, competition-winning alumnus of NEC, and former longtime student of Wha Kyung Byun and Russell Sherman.
Minsoo began teaching Yunchan early in his career after graduating from NEC, and when Yunchan was only 12 years old. The power of close-knit relationships and the commitment to artistic excellence shine through in this remarkable story of how the NEC community can propel artists to global success, through generations of students and teachers.
Congratulations to all members of the NEC community involved in these wonderful achievements!