The cash prize package has been doubled to $40,000 for this year’s Thomas and Evon Cooper International Competition at Oberlin College and Conservatory, including a $20,000 first prize.
Now in its seventh year, the event will feature the highest-valued first prize of any competition for its age group.
The 2016 Cooper Competition will begin Saturday, July 15 with five days of public performances presented by 25 to 35 pianists at Oberlin College.
On Friday, July 22, three finalists will perform complete concertos with the Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall in Cleveland.
In addition to the grand prize, $10,000 and $5,000 will be awarded for second and third place, respectively. Each finalist’s prize package also includes a full four-year tuition scholarship to attend the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
Also new for 2016: A travel-assistance fund will be available to competition participants on a case-by-case basis.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with the Cleveland Orchestra once again as we celebrate the best young piano talent in the world,” said Oberlin professor of piano Robert Shannon, director and jury chair of the 2016 Cooper Competition. “Interest from students around the world is already high, and this should be an even more fabulous event than ever before.”
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 recital final round in Oberlin on Wednesday, July 20.
An honors concert, featuring pianists who delivered the most moving performances during the week, will be held at Oberlin Thursday, July 21.
The 2016 jury is a panel of esteemed pianists consisting of Oberlin Conservatory faculty and acclaimed performer-pedagogues from throughout the world. Along with Oberlin professors Alvin Chow, Angela Cheng, Monique Duphil, Robert Shannon, and Matti Raekallio, the international jury includes Dag Achatz, Swedish soloist, recording artist, and composer; Uzbekistani-born American pianist Stanislav Ioudenitch, gold medalist of the 11th Van Cliburn Competition; Lisa Nakamichi, founding artistic director of the Aloha International Piano Festival; and Wu Ying, professor and department head at the Central Conservatory of Music in China.
Photo by Roger Mastroianni Tony Yike Yang of Toronto, 2014 Cooper champion, performs in the concerto finals with the Cleveland Orchestra and conductor Jahja Ling.