|Logo for Queen Elisabeth Competition / Courtesy of Queen Elisabeth Competition|
South Korea is the country with the largest number of competitors, according to the Korean Cultural Center in Belgium.
The Korean pianists in this year's competition are: Hong Min-soo, Kim Hong-gi, Kim Hye-lim, Kim Jun-hyung, Kim Seol-hwa, Kim Severine, Kim Su-Yeon, Lee Hyuk, Lee Taek-gi, Park Jin-hyung, Park Kyoung-sun, Park Young-ho, Shin Chang-yong, Yoo Se-gyeong and Yoo Sung-ho, accounting for some 26 percent of 58 participants from 16 countries, according to data of the Queen Elizabeth Competition.
The country with the second-largest number of competitors is Russia (11), followed by Japan (7) and France (7). In 2013, 13 South Koreans entered the round while 24 pianists competed in 2016. The winner will be announced on May 29 (local time) in the presence of Belgium's king and queen.
The competition has served as a stepping stone for classical musicians seeking to build an international career. Since violinist Kang Dong-suk won the third prize in 1976, many other Korean classical musicians left their mark on the competition. Violinist Esther Yoo came in fourth place in 2012 at the youngest age. Soprano Hong Hae-ran won the first prize, in 2013 while soprano Hwang Su-mi and violinist Lim Ji-young grabbed the top awards in 2014 and 2015.
It became more common for Korean musicians to join international classical music competitions in recent years and win titles.
Up to nine of the 43 violinists competing in this year's Menuhin Competition, an international violin competition for musicians aged under 22, are Korean according to organizers. Three violinists ― Moon Bo-ha, Jinan Laurentia Woo and Kim Seo-hyun ― are preparing for the upcoming semi-final rounds which are slated to be held on May 15 and 16.