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Saehyun Kim ’24 Wins Cleveland International Piano Competition for Young Artists

Walnut Hill School for the Arts Student Receives $10,000 First Prize After Winning Senior Division
Saehyun Kim ’24, a rising senior at Natick’s Walnut Hill School for the Arts, won the Senior Division of the Cleveland International Piano Competition for Young Artists on Saturday, July 15. Performing with the Canton Symphony Orchestra in the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Gartner Auditorium, Kim clinched the title with a stunning performance of the first movement of Chopin’s Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11 in the concerto round. Two days prior, Kim performed a movement from Brahms’s Piano Trio No. 1 in B Major, Op. 8 with members of the Cleveland Orchestra in the chamber round. Placing first in the Competition comes with a $10,000 prize. In addition to winning First Prize, Kim also won two separate special prizes: the Senior Division Audience Prize and the Senior Division Junior Jury, both worth $500.
“I am ecstatic about the result and Saehyun’s well-deserved achievement!” says Kim’s piano teacher, HaeSun Paik, Co-Chair of Piano at the New England Conservatory and herself an alumna of Walnut Hill. “He is already an artist with phenomenal talent and a brilliant mind, which is served by uncompromising self-discipline—a rare combination. I can’t wait to see how he will develop further in the future.”
“Our music department is so proud of Saehyun and his major accomplishment at this competition,” says Walnut Hill Director of Music Jennifer Elowitch. “What strikes me beyond his technical ease is his musical sensitivity and already mature subtlety. At Walnut Hill, he is a wonderful collaborator and particularly supportive colleague.”
Eric Barber, Walnut Hill Head of School, says, “We at Walnut Hill are overjoyed that Saehyun won this highly important international competition. And that Saehyun was selected to participate in both the Cleveland and Cliburn competitions this summer is an amazing testament to his artistic versatility and ability to master large amounts of repertoire, delivering music to the audience with verve and personality. Saehyun has studied with the supremely gifted teacher HaeSun Paik, herself an alumna of our program, and this speaks volumes about the incredible legacy of world-class artistry at Walnut Hill.”
Hailing from Seoul, South Korea, Kim currently resides in Massachusetts and studies under Walnut Hill alumna HaeSun Paik ’83, P’21. In 2022, he won First Prize at both the Morningside Music Bridge International Concerto Competition and the New England Conservatory (NEC) Preparatory School Concerto Competition. In his first ever international competition, the 2019 International Tchaikovsky Online Piano Competition for Young Musicians, he won Second Prize as the youngest finalist. Additionally, he won First Prize at both the 2021 New York International Classical Music Competition and the 2018 Ewha & Kyunghyang Music Concours, the most prestigious young artist music competition in Korea.
Over the past seven years, Saehyun has performed at major concert venues in South Korea—such as the Seoul Arts Center, Mozart Art Hall, and TLI Art Center—and beyond. At the age of 10, he had his first solo recital at Kumho Art Hall as a part of the Kumho Prodigy Concert Series. During the 2021-22 season, he performed twice at Jordan Hall on two renowned concert series: First Monday at Jordan Hall and NEC Composers: Piano Music by NEC Alumni and Faculty. This season, he performed at Yamaha Hall Ginza in Tokyo as a part of the Yamaha Rising Pianists Concert Vol. 7 and will have his U.S. concerto debut with the NEC Youth Philharmonic Orchestra at Jordan Hall.
Kim has appeared as a soloist with the Sendai Philharmonic, Korean Symphony, and more, collaborating with maestros Ken Takaseki and Chi-Yong Jung. He was also invited to give interviews and performances for national music channels such as JTBC Classic Today and KBS Classic FM. Currently, he is a Young Scholar of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation and a rising senior at Walnut Hill School for the Arts.
Walnut Hill School for the Arts celebrates its 50-year anniversary as an arts school this year.

About Walnut Hill School for the Art
Founded in 1893, Walnut Hill School for the Arts is located in Natick, Massachusetts, within the Boston metropolitan area. As one of the premier boarding and day schools in the United States, the School provides an immersive and intensive learning environment for talented arts students in Grades 9-12 and in post-graduate studies. With areas of focus in music, dance, theater, visual art, and writing, film, and media arts, students from around the world are able to hone their crafts and engage in transformative experiences with professional artists and instructors from Boston Ballet, the New England Conservatory of Music, and other major arts institutions. Walnut Hill alumni include many internationally recognized actors of stage and screen, Pulitzer Prize-winning writers, and musicians and dancers at a number of the world’s top performing arts institutions and ensembles. This year, Walnut Hill celebrates its 50-year anniversary as an arts school. Visit for more information.