China  I  14

“Reading books gives me a lot of information and drive for the development of my artistry. Reading books often brings me a lot of inspiration and arouses various sentiments from the bottom of my heart. It is really a big harvest. I expect I will convey my inner world to the audience through my performances.”

When Chengcheng Yao was 4 years old, he saw someone playing the piano in the lobby of a hotel; he was transfixed, and a seed took root. He began lessons soon thereafter, where his rare tenacity and persistence led him to practice for five hours a day when he was in the first grade. His mother began taking him on the train to Shanghai from their home in Fuzhou once or twice a week—around seven hours round trip—for lessons. In 2019, he was admitted to the Music Middle School Affiliated to Shanghai Conservatory of Music, where he studies with Xie Jia; his previous teachers were Yang Yifu and Zhou Ting. He made both his recital and concerto debuts in Shanghai as well, in 2021 and 2020, respectively. With five early competition victories to his name, he notes that the Cliburn Junior will be his first in-person contest in three years, due to the pandemic. “I hope the world will link together again by such a big music event.” He believes deeply in the life-long benefits of learning classical music: it “helps a person to develop intelligence;” “helps strengthen the mathematical thinking;” “improves a person’s mental capacity and temperament;” and “cultivates the learners’ aesthetic judgment.” Outside of the piano, he enjoys reading books.



Preliminary Round

BACH Prelude and Fugue in F-sharp Major, BWV 858
RACHMANINOV Étude-tableau in A Minor, op. 39, no. 6
CHOPIN Waltz in A-flat Major, op. 42
PROKOFIEV Sonata No. 1 in F Minor, op. 1

Quarterfinal Round

BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 2 in A Major, op. 2, no. 2
CHOPIN Nocturne in C Minor, op. 48, no. 1

Semifinal Round – Recital

ZHAO XIAOXIANG When a Dancer Emerges from Clouds
RAVEL Jeux d’eau
SCHUMANN Symphonic Etudes, op. 13

Final Round – Concerto 

BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, op. 37


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