South Korean pianist Seong-Jin Cho won the prestigious 17th International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in Poland’s capital Warsaw, on Wednesday.
Charles Richard-Hamelin from Canada came in at second place and Kate Liu from America came in at third place.
The first prize, which Cho will receive, consists of concerts in some of the world’s most popular halls, contracts for recordings, along with 30,000 euro ($33,600) prize money and a gold medal.
The 21-year old Cho, who is a native of South Korea's capital Seoul, said he had wanted to participate in the world-renowned competition since he was an 11 year old boy, when he listened to the edition of 2005.
"It became my dream to participate in the competition and I cannot believe this moment," Cho said at a news conference.
Speaking of the competition, he said that all the stages were "really tough for me," other than the last concerto with an orchestra, in where he says he wasn’t as nervous.
"In the first round I was out of control," he said speaking of his experience. "I didn't remember how I played so I checked on YouTube how I played."
Cho also won a 3,000 euro award for the best performance of a Choplin polonaise.
The pianists played only Chopin’s works in front of an international jury of 17 members, including 1965 winner Martha Argerich, throughout the three weeks of the competition.
The Chopin competition, which has been running for 88 years, came to prominence as one of the world’s most prestigious piano events, starting off international careers for up-and-coming young pianists.
Notable winners of past competitions have been Maurizio Pollini in 1960, Garrick Ohlsson in 1970, and Krystian Zimerman in 1975.