Pianist Evren Ozel, a 2014 Minnesota Varsity Showcase Artist from Minneapolis, Minn., won second prize at the 10th annual National Chopin Piano Competition in Miami.
Ozel was also awarded prizes for best mazurka and best polonaise. He advances to compete at the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw in October.
The 21-year-old pianist, who currently studies with Wha Kyung Byun at New England Conservatory, has previously performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony, Boston Pops and Minnesota Orchestra. He has appeared on NPR's 'From the Top' three times.
Ozel performed Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor during the final concerto round of the Chopin Competition.
"From his first entrance in the opening Allegro maestoso, Ozel's classically proportioned approach avoided overt flashiness. He shaped the secondary subject in a sensitively romantic, yet unaffected manner. Throughout the first movement, the rhythmic pulse was strongly felt and Ozel's variegated dynamics displayed many dimensions of softness," Lawrence Budmen writes in the South Florida Classical Review.
"His eloquent traversal of the Romanze captured the second movement's bel canto elements, the singing line enhanced by a deft touch. The final Rondo sparkled with syncopation true to the spirit of Polish dance. Ozel's terse phrasing of the central episode was different from most performances, adding a personal touch to a thoughtful reading. His entire performance brought forth that extra spark of spontaneity and inspiration that distinguishes an exceptionally gifted artist from a solid one," Budmen added.
View Ozel's performance of Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor from the Chopin Competition Finals.