UPDATE: Polish Pianist Rafal Blechacz Receives the 2014 Gilmore Artist Award...and $300,000

By Logan Young on Jan 08, 2014 06:42 PM EST

UPDATE: Well, it's official now in Kalamazoo. 28-year-old polish pianist Rafal Blechaz (pronounced BLEH-hatch) has received the 2014 Gilmore Artist Award.

"I didn't know I was under consideration or being observed, so the news came as a great surprise," he emailed to NPR Music's Tom Huizenga. "I haven't yet decided what I will do with the funds. I have a few ideas, but I need time to allow thoughtful consideration to an award this important and substantial, and how it can be used to support my career." 

Every four years, the Gilmore Artist Award is presented to an international pianist of any age or nationality, who receives a one-time award of $300,000. The 2014 award will be announced on Wednesday, January 8, during an awards ceremony that will be webcast live on at 5:30 p.m. EST.

The winning pianist will give an interview and a mini-recital during the event, which is hosted by Jeff Spurgeon of WQXR and Fred Child of American Public Media's Performance Today.

The event, held at The Greene Space in New York, is sold out, but viewers are invited to watch the live video webcast--once again, presented by

Past Gilmore Artists have included Kirill Gerstein (2010), Ingrid Fliter (2006), Piotr Anderszewski (2002), Leif Ove Andsnes (1998), Ralf Gothoni (1994) and David Owen Norris (1991).

The Gilmore Artist Awards are unusual in the classical music world, both because of the size of the award and the fact that the awards are not given based on a competition between pianists.

The awards have been compared to the MacArthur "Genius" Grants.

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Tags2014 Gilmore Artist Award, Gilmore Artist, WQXR, The Greene Space, Jeff Spurgeon, Fred Child, American Public Media, Performance Today, Kirill Gerstein, Ingrid Fliter, Piotr Anderszewski

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