Japanese Win Top Two Spots In French Piano Contest

Japanese win top two spots in French piano contest

Japanese pianists have won the top two prizes in the Long-Thibaud-Crespin international competition in France.

After final concerts on Friday and Saturday, 26-year-old Kenji Miura won first prize, and Keigo Mukawa, who is also 26, took second prize. They were among six finalists selected in the piano category, which began on Wednesday.

The competition started in 1943 and is for aspiring young classical musicians.

Miura was born in Hyogo Prefecture and began studying piano in London at the age of 13. He travels and performs around the world, while continuing his studies in Berlin.

Miura said he is bewildered because winning was far beyond his expectations. He added that the competition made him understand what he needs to work on. Miura said he wants to develop as a musician and a person.

Mukawa is from Aichi Prefecture and studied at the Tokyo University of the Arts and Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris. He is active in the Paris music scene.

Mukawa said he is more than satisfied with the result. He said he was on his toes during the competition's two weeks, as he was determined to become a finalist. He added that he now feels happy.

The last time a Japanese won a first prize in the piano category of the competition was in 2007.