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Lexington youth wins music competition

Posted by Katrina Ballard  August 20, 2010 04:00 PM

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George Li, a Lexington teen who attends the Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick and the New England Conservatory’s Preparatory School in Boston, recently won the $10,000 first prize in the inaugural Thomas and Evon Cooper International Competition at Oberlin College’s Conservatory of Music in Ohio.

In the final round, George performed Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11, with Jahja Ling conducting the Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall.

His prize for winning the weeklong piano competition includes concert performances with orchestras in Beijing and Shanghai, and a four-year scholarship to the Oberlin Conservatory. The 43 contestants ranged in age from 13 to 18.

‘‘I’m only 14, so I didn’t expect to win,’’ George said. ‘‘When I learned the results, I was really happy and shocked. Everything after that was kind of a blur.’’

George, who studies piano with Lexington resident Wha Kyung Byun at the New England Conservatory, has performed in Boston’s Steinway Hall, New York’s Carnegie Hall for the PBS series ‘‘From the Top,’’ on television with Liz Walker and Martha Stewart, and with symphony orchestras in China, Venezuela, Sweden, and Italy.

Items for the People column may be submitted to Cindy Cantrell at cantrell@globe.com.

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