Hao Rao

China I Age 15

Hao Rao grew up in the mountainside town of Jishou, China. Every week, his mother would take him on a 16-hour train ride to his piano lesson; he never tired of the trip and instead saw it as “departing for a great music journey with unknown surprises.” He now attends the Middle School of Xinghai Conservatory of Music in the sprawling city of Guangzhou, but still studies with his teacher of almost seven years, Vivian Li (Suirong). He has won three major national competitions in China, received prizes at the 2018 Ettlingen Competition and the 2019 Aarhus Competition, and—at the age of 13—presented the complete Chopin etudes in recital. He listens to opera and enjoys reading fiction, playing sports, and sampling desserts.

“I’ve been to several competitions or festivals abroad, and every time it was a life-changing inspiration with unforgettable memories, but the Cliburn Fort Worth… that’s almost like the Vatican for pianists. For me, it almost seems like a fairy tale, and I will treasure every moment of this journey.”

Competitor Profile


Preliminary Round
MENDELSSOHN Songs without Words, op. 67, nos. 1 & 5
BACH Prelude and Fugue in C Major, BWV 870
CHOPIN Etude in G-sharp Minor, op. 25, no. 6
LISZT Valse de l’opéra Faust (after Gounod)

Quarterfinal Round
CHOPIN Nocturne in D-flat Major, op. 27, no. 2
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 4 in E-flat Major, op. 7 (I)
DEBUSSY Les collines d’Anacapri from Preludes, Book I
BRAHMS Variations on a Theme by Paganini, Book II, op. 35

Semifinal Round

LIEBERMANN Nocturne No. 4, op. 38

SCHUBERT Four Impromptus, op. 90, D. 899

BIZET-HOROWITZ “Carmen” Fantasy


Final Round

CHOPIN Concerto No. 1 in E Minor, op. 11