This California software engineer won the Cliburn amateur piano competition in Fort Worth
A cross-country move led 41-year-old Jon Lee to rediscover classical music. He beat competitors from around the world in a grueling contest. An Arlington physician received a special jury prize.
Jon Lee won first place, $2,000, a pair of custom made cowboy boots AND major bragging rights Tuesday night.
Contestants in the Cliburn International Amateur Competition all have impressive day jobs. Yet they also commit to the piano, putting in hundreds of hours of practice.
And Lee is no exception. The software engineer, 41, is originally from Milwaukee, where he studied music as a child. He has a bachelor's and master's degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He moved across country for a job at Apple, and that's when he reconnected with classical music and began entering - and winning - piano competitions around the country.
Michael Slavin, a 71-year-old retired neuro-opthalmologist from Manhasset, New York, placed second. And Xavier Aymonod, 46, an international public transportation expert from France, placed third.
Noah DeGarmo, an emergency room physician at Arlington Memorial Hospital, received a special jury prize of $500. DeGarmo studied piano as an undergrad, and has competed in the Cliburn before.
In addition to DeGarmo, the jury also awarded special prizes of $500 to:
- Deirbhile Brennan, Accountant, 53, Ireland
- Sean Sutherland, Product Manager, 45, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines/Canada
Masanori Murakami, a 38-year-old clinical project manager from Japan, won the audience award, and a cowboy hat, in addition to $500.