Zhonghua Wei


China  I  14

“Classical music is my best friend who can comfort me, inspire me, encourage me, and chat with me in my heart. It is an eternal, unsurpassed culture, and I hope I can become a narrator of music to help spread it.”

Zhonghua Wei began his piano studies piano with Jay Sun, his current teacher, when he was 5 years old, gave his solo recital debut at the age of 10, and by the age of 12 had studied the complete Well-Tempered Clavier of Bach, etudes of Chopin and Liszt, and Mozart Sonatas. Currently attending the Xinghai Conservatory Middle School, he has placed in several national Chinese competitions, including Pearl River Kayserburg (first), Steinway (second), and Xinghai Cup (first). And he just won the 2023 Hilton Head International Competition in South Carolina. Of his approach to music, he says: “The music itself drives me to play it. I think it is so interesting and beautiful—carrying life, history, and feelings—and I want to find out these things, to perform what the composers want to say, to integrate my own understanding in it.” Coming to the Cliburn Junior, he’s looking forward to receiving feedback from the jurors and other experts, and to hearing and making friends with the participants. Outside of the piano, Zhonghua enjoys reading, badminton, biking, and meditation.


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Zihan Jin


China  I  14

“Classical music is the most profound art of mankind. Through the music I find a better world, and I would like to tell my story to the people through these notes and make the world more beautiful.”

Zihan Jin’s first piano teacher was his father, who he says filled his life with many different kinds of music since he was born. He has studied with Yun Sun at the Secondary School of Shanghai Conservatory of Music for five years and made both his recital and concerto debuts in the city—his hometown—in 2021. Competition wins include several in China, with victories in Swedish and Swiss contest as well; he also had a video selected for the program of “Global Classical Music Talk” of American Chinese TV, where he won the recording and broadcasting certificate of Talented Young Players. Of his approach to musicmaking, Zihan says: “I would like to sing with my fingers through the sound of the music. And I would like to reach the audience; together we meet the composers and discover inspiration from the great genius of these great composers.” Last year, he watched the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition closely, calling it “the competition of my dreams in the future.” Of his hobbies, he lists reading, playing chamber music, and soccer.


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Ziyu Liu

Ziyu Liu

China  I  Age 24

When he was a child, Ziyu Liu’s parents discovered that he could memorize melodies of songs and play them, without any instruction, on their electric keyboard. They bought him a piano, and he started learning on his own. At the age of 11, he decided that he wanted to become a professional pianist because of the joy he got from communicating with others through music.

He entered the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing at the age of 12 and—feeling he started later than his contemporaries—studied intensively. He moved to Germany in 2015 to study with Ewa Kupiec at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover, where he remains today under the tutelage of Arie Vardi. In 2019, he went to three competitions (Viotti, Singapore, Cantù) and took home top prizes at each of them.

Ziyu has performed in many countries, including Austria, Sweden, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Netherlands, China, and Singapore; in concert venues such as the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Warsaw Philharmonie, National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, Weimarhalle, Sota Concert Hall in Singapore, and Shanghai Concert Hall; and at the Kissinger Sommer, Weimar Music, and Coburg Music Festivals.

The Jinan, China, native also enjoys giving lectures on composers, sharing his passion for understanding “the story behind the notes.” He calls participation in the Cliburn his dream since childhood: “I want to bring love, friendship to people through this wonderful platform in this difficult time.”


Preliminary Round

SCHUBERT Drei Klavierstücke, D. 946
BARTÓK Sonata, Sz. 80
HOUGH Fanfare Toccata

Quarterfinal Round

SCHUMANN Humoreske in B-flat Major, op. 20
RAVEL La valse

Semifinal Round – Recital

SCHUBERT Impromptu in F Minor, D. 935, no. 1
MUSSORGSKY Pictures at an Exhibition
GINASTERA Sonata No. 1, op. 22

Semifinal Round – Mozart concerto

MOZART Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, K. 488

Final Round – Concerto I

BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, op. 58

Final Round – Concerto II

TCHAIKOVSKY Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor, op. 23