Every four years, NE Ohio is the most important place on the planet for aspiring teen pianists, thanks to the Cleveland International Piano Competition for Young Artists (CIPC). This year, the 11-day competition drew 22 competitors ages 12-17 from a total of twelve countries from the US to Russia, China, Japan, South Korea and more, vying for scholarship prizes and a place in the classical music pantheon.

CIPC organizers ensure the event is primarily an educational experience for its young participants, so in addition to performing, there are master classes and development opportunities, as well as side trips to museums and Cedar Point. As Jill Clark, Board Chair said in her opening remarks, CIPC hopes to offer a memorable experience that’s both exciting and rewarding.

To celebrate the end of the competition, CIPC offers patrons and artists alike a wrap-up event called Bravissimo. At this informal summer party, about 300 guests heard the winners named at an awards ceremony, and were treated to encore performances by the dedicated rising artists in the Gartner Auditorium. These young musicians already offer listeners an astonishing array of technical expertise and performance approaches ranging from playful to ethereal, subtle to thunderous.

Following the music, a strolling cocktail party was held in the Ames Family Atrium. Guests and judges were able to mingle with some of the young performers and their parents while enjoying small plates and live music.

This year Eva Gevorgyan of Russia was the Junior Division winner, and Xiaoxuan Li of China won the Senior Division. Note these names – no doubt you’ll see them playing with orchestras around the world in coming years. The next Cleveland International Piano Competition will be in 2020 for performers ages 18 to 30. The next Young Artists competition will be in 2022. This year, organizers aimed to raise $125,000 from ticket sales to Bravissimo. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY RITA KUEBER

Anne Ames and Jill Clark

Eva Gevorgyan and Anthony Yin

Barbara Robinson, Barbara Gratry and Bill Bolton

Oliver Henkel with Lesey and Stephen Brown

Pauline Ramig, Kathy Coleman and Viia Beechler

Ninna Pettersson, Judith McMillan and Hani Najm, MD