Rafal Blechacz of Poland burst into the international music scene after winning the prestigious Chopin Piano Competition in his native country nearly 10 years ago.
Despite such accolades, the 28-year-old was not expecting his most recent honour, which carries a $300,000 prize.
The Gilmore Artist Award is only presented every four years, and is given to an artist the judges believe can sustain a career as a major concert pianist.
Al Jazeera's Kristen Saloomey reports from New York City.
Source: Al Jazeera