Wolfson Pianist and Singaporean Churen Li Wins the CUMS Concerto Competition

Wolfson Pianist and Singaporean Churen Li Wins the CUMS Concerto Competition
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--Picture: YST

Wolfson College, a residential college in the University of Cambridge that admits postgraduate students, recently has seen one of its students participated in the Cambridge University Music Society Concerto Competition, and is proud to share that Wolfson Master of Philosophy (Music) student Churen Li, a Singaporean, has been awarded First Prize.

On 26 February 2019, Churen played the Piano Concerto No. 2, Op.18, I (1901) by Rachmaninov (1873-1943). During this performance, she was accompanied by fellow pianist Antonia Huang.

Wolfson Director of Music Lynette Alcántara said, "I was thrilled to be present, along with many Wolfson supporters, at yesterday’s final of the Cambridge University Musical Society Concerto Competition in the gorgeous acoustic of West Road Concert Hall. Wolfson’s Brian Moore Accompanist Scholar, pianist Churen Li performed fourth of five finalists playing the first movement of Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Piano Concerto with great flair and exquisitely beautiful phrasing. The competitors were all outstanding musicians and I am delighted for Churen. She will have the opportunity to perform a concerto with one of the CUMS orchestras later in the year."

As for the champion herself, Churen had this to say, "The CUMS Concerto Competition was a wonderful experience for me! I must give huge thanks to my accompanist, Antonia, for her outstanding playing that allowed me to play my best. I am also very grateful to all who came to support me at the concert — from CCCF, my Wolfpack friends, members of the Wolfson Choir, and of course our beloved choir director Lyn. I am looking forward to my upcoming recitals at Wolfson and the concerto performance next year."

The Cambridge University Music Society Concerto Competition is an annual competition. However, this is only the second time that a student from Wolfson College has won the competition. The last time this happened was in 2012. That year, Andrew Goldman had the honour.

Prior to winning this pretigious competition, Churen won the University Instrumental Award for Chamber Music and the Brian Moore Accompanist Scholarship. If you would like to listen to some of Churen's playing, you may vist her YouTube Channel

Churen will next perform at the Lent concert on 17 March. Named The Feminine Mystique, the concert is part of the Wolfson Explores |Transformation| programme. At this event, Churen will play a few solos but will also accompany the choir.


About Cambridge University Musical Society

Every year, Cambridge University Musical Society invites emsembles to apply for the chance to perform in the following season. The following is the list of winners in the Cambridge University Musical Society Concerto Competition 2019.



  1. Winner: Churen Li
  2. 2nd place: Francis Bushell
  3. Joint prizewinners: Leo Appel, Sophie Westbrooke, Mark Zang


2019 Finalists

  1. Leo Appel, violin
  2. Francis Bushell, bassoon
  3. Churen Li, piano
  4. Sophie Westbrooke, recorder
  5. Mark Zang, piano


Performed Works:

  1. Piano Concerto No. 2, Op.50, III (1927) Medtner (1880-1951)
    Mark Zang (piano), accompanied by Oliver Jones
  2. Bassoon Concerto, Op. 75, II (1811) Weber (1786-1826)
    Francis Bushell (bassoon), accompanied by Hugh Rowlands
  3. Concerto per Falautino RV443, II-III (1729) Vivaldi (1678-1741)
    Sophie Westbrooke (recorder), accompanied by Jamie Conway
  4. Piano Concerto No. 2, Op.18, I (1901) Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
    Churen Li (piano), accompanied by Antonia Huang
  5. Violin Concerto, Op.35, III (1878) Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
    Leo Appel (violin), accompanied by Naoki Toyomura