Sean Chen MUS ’14 took home the Crystal Medal in the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition on June 9, playing Sergei Rachmaninoff’s notoriously challenging Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor as one of his final competition pieces.

Though Chen ultimately lost the first prize to Ukrainian Vadym Kholodenko, he is the first American since 1997 to make it to the finals of the Van Cliburn competition. The honor includes a $20,000 prize, as well as a career management contract and touring within the United States for the next three concert seasons. Chen will also have his competition performances recorded live for the music label harmonia mundi.

Chen is currently studying in the Artistic Diploma program at the Yale School of Music, and received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Juilliard School.