Fresh from his coronation as the latest world piano sensation, Canadian soloist Avan Yu is heading to Perth next week on a whirlwind tour to mark his victory in the $150,000 Sydney International Piano Competition. His weekend success against six finalists from around the world is the latest in a string of international awards for the Hong-Kong born Yu, who started playing piano at five, and first appeared with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra at 14.
Yu, 25, picked up the $25,000 first prize, a recording contract and touring engagements among $35,000 in supplementary prizes, including for best Mozart concerto and best performance of a work by Beethoven. Yu played Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody accompanied by the Sydney Symphony to win the 17-day competition at the Opera House over finalists from the US, Russia, Ukraine and China.
Yu, who emigrated to Canada with his family from Hong Kong when he was nine, studies music in Berlin. This is his first trip to Australia.
He said the contest's appeal included the prospect of more chances to perform in Australia, "which is, of course, wonderful".
The contests were taxing on young musicians. By the end, the six finalists in Sydney had played three solo recitals, chamber music and two concertos - but the competition was friendly, he said.
The Sydney competition is held every four years.Avan Yu performs at the Perth Concert Hall on Monday at 7.30pm. Book at BOCS.