Simon Karakulidi Takes Gold In 2019


Gold Medalist Simon Karakulidi

Russian pianist Simon Karakulidi, 22, claimed the gold medal at this year's 69th Annual Wideman International Piano Competition held Sunday, with his performance of Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No 2 in G, Op. 16. 

Born in Novorossiysk, Russia, Karakulidi began his studies in Moscow at the age of 15.  He has won numerous prizes at competitions and has performed with orchestras in Central America, Russia, Europe, and the United States.  In 2016 he moved to Missouri to study at Park University with Stanislav Ioudenitch, also a gold medalist at the Wideman Competition and at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas.

With the gold medal, Karakulidi won the William Peyton Shehee and Virginia Kilpatrick Shehee cash prize award of $5,000; a website design, as well as orchestral engagements with the Shreveport Symphony and other orchestras throughout the United States.


Silver Medalist Xiaoya Liu


The silver medal went to Xiaoya Liu of China with her performance of Prokofiev’s Piano concerto No 3 in C, Op. 26.  She takes home a $3000 cash prize given by John and Alice Frazier in memory of Genevieve and Carlton Frazier.

Another Chinese contestant, Xuesha Hu, who studies at Colburn, won the bronze medal with her performance of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No 1 in E flat, S 124.  Her Magnolia Award -- given by the family of the late Marilyn Johnson King -- includes a $1,500 cash prize.

An honorable mention prize of $1,000 was awarded to Binghao Li, who performed Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No 1in B flat minor, Op 23.  A native of China, she studies at Mannes.

Two special awards of $500 each were given. The Pearla Despot Award was given to Li Wang of Inner Mongolia who studies at Cincinnati. She performed the Piano Concerto in D Major (for the left hand) by Ravel. 

The Norman Fisher Memorial Award, given by Dr. and Mrs. Wayne J. Homza, was awarded to Aleksandra Kasman who performed Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No 3 in D minor, Op 26.  A Russian, Aleksandra studies at Michigan.

Rachid Bernal of Mexico and Ming-Li Liuy of Taiwan also took home special awards of $250 each.  Rachid performed Ravel’s Piano concerto in G, and Ming-Li performed Liszt’s Totentanz, S 126.

Bronze Medalist Xuesha Hu