Cleveland’s prestigious competition crowns a new champion.

Russian pianist Stanislav Khristenko has been awarded first prize in the biennial Cleveland International Piano Competition, beating out 27 other competitors to take home the prestigious title last weekend. Performing Brahms’ Piano Concerto No 1 with the Cleveland Orchestra, Khristenko was awarded $50,000, a professional CD recording, three years of management, and a recital at Carnegie Hall scheduled for March next year.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer‘s Zachary Lewis described the 29-year-old’s winning performance as “invigorating from start to finish, with shimmering filigree and phrases of exquisite tenderness, in which every note mattered.”

Khristenko expressed his shock to the Cleveland Plain Dealerimmediately after winning: “I probably won’t realize what’s really going on until tomorrow morning,” he said. “I’m not so excited about the money. I’m more excited about what’s next, and how I can keep improving and growing as an artist.”

Khristenko, a former student of the Cleveland Institute of Music, was no stranger to the competition, having placed third in 2005. Surviving two rounds of elimination across ten days to reach the finals, he was this time successful in taking home the grand prize. Coming in behind Khristenko in second place was 20-year-old Arseny...