Two Japanese pianists win top spots in Brussels

Japanese pianists have received the top prizes in one of the world's most prestigious contests.

After final concerts from Monday to Saturday, 28-year-old Mukawa Keigo placed third and Sakata Tomoki, who is 27, finished fourth in the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels.

The piano division was originally scheduled to take place last year but was postponed by one year due to the pandemic. It was held without a live audience.

Mukawa is from the central prefecture of Aichi and studied at the Tokyo University of the Arts. He studies at Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris.

He expressed his satisfaction at the result which he sees opening up an international career.

He added that music helped him when he stayed home due to the pandemic and that he hopes his performance meant something to the audience who heard him online.

Sakata is also from Aichi Prefecture. He studied at the Tokyo University of the Arts and is at the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media Hannover in Germany.

The competition is regarded as one of the world's top music contests, alongside the International Tchaikovsky and Chopin Piano Competitions.