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Kim Raff , Deseret Morning News
The six finalists who performed in the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition were, from left, Stephen Beus, Vadym Kholodenko, Jue Wang, Hinrich Alpers, Colleen Lee and Takashi Yamamoto.

And the winner is ... Stephen Beus.

Beus, a resident of Washington state and son of a Brigham Young University-trained pianist, took home first prize during the Gina Bachauer International Artists Piano Competition Friday night.

Beus is no stranger to Utah's Bachauer competition — in 1996, he placed first in the Junior Bachauer finals. The 2006 Gina Bachauer International Artists Piano Competition finals were held Thursday and Friday night in Abravanel Hall. Six finalists performed with the Utah Symphony under the direction of Alastair Willis.

After Friday's performances, the 10 jurors deliberated for 30 minutes before emerging with the winners' list.

Beus, who performed Prokofiev's Third Piano Concerto, was awarded $30,000 for his first-place achievement in the competition.

Second place was awarded to Takashi Yamamoto of Japan. Yamamoto, who took home $15,000, performed Tchaikovsky's B Flat Minor on Thursday and was also awarded the peer jury award purse of $500.

Ukraine's Vadym Kholodenko, who also played Thursday night, won third place. For the finals, he performed Rachmaninoff's "Rhapsody on the Theme of Paganini." He received $10,000.

Coming in fourth was Hinrich Alpers of Germany, who interpreted Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto on Thursday. He receive $8,000 as a result of the jury's decision.

Jue Wang, China, who was the first to perform on Friday, took home the fifth-place award along with $7,000. She played Prokofiev's Second Concerto.

Hong Kong's Ka-Ling Colleen Lee rounded out the top six Bachauer finalists. She was given $6,000 after her Friday performance of Chopin's E Minor Concerto.

The 2006 edition celebrated the event's 30th anniversary. The Gina Bachauer International Artists Piano Competition — one of the world's premiere showcases for classical pianists — takes place in Salt Lake City every four years.

The Bachauer, named for the late Greek pianist Gina Bachauer, actually begins with auditions in cities around the world. Forty-one pianists from two dozen countries emerged from that process. Two weeks ago, most of them arrived in Salt Lake City for the final rounds, and six were selected as finalists earlier this week to perform with the symphony.


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