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UNITED STATES 24 May – 9 Jun 2013 Cliburn International Piano Competition a somber event

The growing prominence of Chinese and other Asian pianists in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition

May 24, 2013 - NULL

UNITED STATES 24 May - 9 Jun 2013 Cliburn International Piano Competition a somber event

The growing prominence of Chinese and other Asian pianists in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and the recent death of its namesake, one of the world's most celebrated pianists, promise to increase interest in the quadrennial event in 2013. Cliburn's breakthrough came in 1958 when he was declared the winner in Moscow, during the height of the Cold War, of the first International Tchaikovsky Competition. The competition is held at the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, Texas. Initial screenings of the 133 entrants in

UNITED STATES 24 May - 9 Jun 2013 Cliburn International Piano Competition a somber event

The growing prominence of Chinese and other Asian pianists in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and the recent death of its namesake, one of the world's most celebrated pianists, promise to increase interest in the quadrennial event in 2013. Cliburn's breakthrough came in 1958 when he was declared the winner in Moscow, during the height of the Cold War, of the first International Tchaikovsky Competition. The competition is held at the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, Texas. Initial screenings of the 133 entrants in the 51-year-old competition were already underway on Feb 27 when the pianist died at 78 of bone cancer.

Previously, pianists from countries with a tradition of piano excellence, particularly Italy and former Soviet countries such as Russia, swept the medals and finals. The picture began changing noticeably in 1989 when a Chinese pianist won fifth place in a competition that epitomizes the Western classical music tradition. There were no Asian finalists in 1993. In 1996 a Japanese-American pianist Jon Nakamatsu won the Gold, but there were no Asian finalists. At the next competition, in 2001, Wang Xiaohan of China placed as a finalist. In 2005, Joyce Yang of South Korea and Sa Chen of China won the second and third place medals, and Chu-Fang Huang of China placed as a finalist. At the last Cliburn competition, in 2009, Nobuyuki Tsujii of Japan and Haochen Zhang of China shared the Gold Medal, Yeol eum Son of South Korea won the Silver medal and Di Wu from China was a finalist.

Explaining Cliburn's meteoric success, the Los Angeles obituary of the pianist explains that after the humiliation of Sputnik, Americans declared a cultural victory with Cliburn. Dubbed the "American Sputnik," he was feted like no other classical musician before him, with a ticker-tape parade in New York City and fan clubs to rival a movie idol's. According to the newspaper, he kept up a frenetic schedule of more than 100 concerts a year for two decades, until retiring from the performance circuit in 1978. In the mid-1990s he embarked on a long-anticipated comeback tour that drew poor reviews.

In advance of the fourteenth competition, a five-member screening jury traveled to Hong Kong, Hannover, Moscow, Milan, New York City, and Fort Worth to hear 133 pianists perform a 40-minute recital before a live audience. The top 30 will be invited to compete for the awards and coveted Cliburn medals, more than US $175,000 in prizes and awards, and three years of commission-free career management valued at over US $1.3 million.

During a demanding three-week schedule, all competitors will perform two 45-minute solo recitals in the Preliminary Round. Then 12 semifinalists will be selected to perform a 60-minute solo recital, including the commissioned work by American composer Christopher Theofanidis, and a piano quintet with the world-renowned Brentano String Quartet. The six finalists will perform two piano concerti with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. The 13-member jury will choose the winners and the prizes will be presented on Jun 9. (WRITTEN MAR 2013)

KEYWORDS:
Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, piano recitals, piano recital, Fort Worth, exas, United States, Americas, May 2013, June 2013, Cold War, International Tchaikovsky Competition, died, Van Cliburn death, Asian pianist, Asian pianists, Chinese pianist, Chinese pianists

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Cliburn competition web
http://www.cliburn.org/

Date written/update: 2013-05-24