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She missed the big payday at the Chopin International Piano Competition, but little-known Argentine pianist Ingrid Fliter became a winner this week, as she was named the Gilmore Artist of 2006. Fliter, 32, lost the Chopin in 2000 to the 18-year-old Chinese phenomenon Yundi Li, whose capture of the $25,000 (U.S.) first prize launched a buoyant international career. Fliter's Gilmore win is worth $300,000 in money and concert engagements.

Unlike most competitions, the Gilmore Artist Award keeps its workings entirely secret, without the knowledge even of the main contenders. Judges attend concerts anonymously, making notes on distinctive pianists who are musically astute and ready for a major career. Past winners include David Owen Norris, Leif Ove Andsnes and Piotr Anderszewski.