FORT WORTH, TEXAS — Four countries will be represented at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition finals, this week: United-States, Russia, South Korea. The six pianists who will participate in the final were announced, last night, by the chairman of the jury, conductor, Leonard Slatkin.
Daniel Hsu, 19, and Kenneth Broberg, 23, will represent the USA. Two Russians were also selected: Yuri Favorin, 30, and Georgy Tchaidze, 29. The other finalists are Rachel Cheung, 25, from Hong Kong, and Yekwon Sunwoo, from South Korea.
Though he played beautifully in the quarterfinal round and in his recital at the semifinal, last Canadian Tony Yike Yang, did not make it. We can most probably attribute it to his Mozart piano concerto — the no 20, that he played last night, and proved problematic on a few levels.
“I was too nervous”, the 18-year-old told us after the announcement at the Bass Performance Hall. The young pianist, who also studies economics at Harvard University, had taken a leave for two months to participate in the competition. “I probably don’t practice as much as the others when I am at school”, he said.
The finals will be divided into two phases. First, the finalists must play a quintet with the Brentano String Quartet. Then, they must perform the concerto of their choice with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of maestro Nicholas McGegan.
The prizes at stake are high: the gold medal winner will also get a $50,000 cash award. The silver medal comes with $25,000, and the bronze, with $15,000. Each non-medalist finalist will go home with a $10,000 cash reward, while the semifinalists get $5,000.
Other than the prizes and fame, the most attractive part of being among the three medalists is that they will get many concerts engagement throughout the United States during a three-year period following the competition.
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