Russia's Alexander Kobrin, 25, won the gold medal Sunday night at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, the prestigious 17-day contest that has launched many a classical music career.
The silver medal went to Korean-born and American-educated Joyce Yang, 19. . Sa Chen, 25, of China took third place. Each medalist wins $20,000 in cash, three years of concert tours and career management and the opportunity to record an album.
Three other finalists -- Davide Cabassi, 28, and Roberto Plano, 26, both of Italy, and China's Chu-Fang Huang, 22 -- each won $10,000 as well as three years of tours and management.
The Cliburn contest, held every four years, is considered the premier competition for classical pianists worldwide.
The competition is named for the acclaimed pianist who gained prominence after winning the first Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow in 1958. A few years later, music teachers in Cliburn's home town of Fort Worth created a contest in his honor.
Kobrin, who played Mozart and Rachmaninoff at the Cliburn, received numerous curtain calls and even had roses thrown onstage after several performances.
Kobrin has performed throughout Europe, and toured Italy and Japan this spring while a graduate student at Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory. He won first prize in the 1999 Busoni Competition and second prize at the 2003 Hamamatsu Competition; no first prize was awarded.
Yang, who moved to the United States when she was 10, became an audience favorite as the youngest of this year's 35 competitors. Yang has studied at the Juilliard School in New York for the past eight years, and has won several national piano competitions in her native South Korea and performed with orchestras across America.