Avan Yu
2012 Winner



One of Canada’s most exciting young pianists, Avan Yu achieved international recognition when he triumphed at the Sydney International Piano Competition in 2012, winning First Prize along with nine special awards. He was first noticed by Pinchas Zukerman and Bramwell Tovey who invited him to perform with their respective orchestras, the National Arts Centre Orchestra and the Vancouver Symphony. Since then, he has appeared with conductors and musicians such as Yo-Yo Ma, Rafael Fruehbeck de Burgos, Christian Arming, Juanjo Mena, Johannes Moser, and the Armida Quartet. He has performed extensively throughout Europe, North America, Asia and Australia and at venues such as the Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Philharmonie in Berlin, the Salle Cortot in Paris, and the Sydney Opera House.

Avan Yu became front page news as the youngest competitor ever to win the Canadian Chopin Competition at the age of 17. On the world stage, he went on to win the Silver Medal and Audience Prize at the Santander International Piano Competition. Following his First Prize at the Sydney International Piano Competition, the newspaper West Australian wrote: “there is an ability to probe and reveal the inner depths of whatever he plays which is far more suggestive of the real McCoy than the surface prestidigitation that too often is all that many a young, hotshot piano player aspires to.”

His teachers include Horacio Gutierrez, Klaus Hellwig, Kenneth Broadway, Ralph Markham, and Kut Kau Sum. He has obtained Diplom and Konzertexamen degrees at the Berlin University of the Arts in Germany and is currently a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts at the Manhattan School of Music. While in Germany, he has performed at festivals such as the Rheingau Music Festival, Heidelberger Frühling, Kissinger Sommer, and Ruhr Klavierfestival, and for the President and the Bundestag President of Germany.

He has received generous support from Canada Council for the Arts, BC Arts Council, Vancouver Women’s Musical Society, and The Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation.

His latest recording of Liszt’s piano transcriptions of Schubert’s Winterreise and Schwanengesang, released by Naxos, won glowing reviews from critics at Gramophone Magazine, American Record Guide, and Fono Forum.

Besides playing the piano, Avan has also written for the National Post. He loves studying languages and in his spare time enjoys experimenting in the kitchen. He now resides in New York City.