16th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, June 2 - 18, 2022

UMBS Go Blue

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taf2002

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For those not familiar with Fort Worth, the Bass Hall where this will be staged is a fabulous venue. If you like piano concertos it is well worth it to attend even the early rounds. @UMBS Go Blue, are you coming this year? I'm not going but if you come I'll take you out to dinner.
 

UMBS Go Blue

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Can't make it this year @taf2002 - thanks though!

Looks like the early rounds are back at TCU (the competition's original home) this year, with the final rounds at, yes, the absolutely exquisite Bass Hall.

Just tuned in for the final minute of the first pianist. Double popped collar (jacket, shirt), partially unbuttoned shirt, longish hair, not particularly handsome - points for or points against? :p
 

sk9tingfan

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I've been catching some of it here and there as I've been working and enjoying it. Tianxu An from China played the Mendelssohn variations I've been working on recently. It was nice to hear them the way they're supposed to sound, not the way I play them. :lol:
A friend's brother-in-law who won the Leventritt is very friendly with many of the top-level musicians (i.e., Itzhak Perlman is his son's godfather). We once went to the 92nd Street Y to hear Emanuel Ax play, who was stupendous. Afterwards, my friend said, "Let's go backstage and say hello to Manny." When we did, she was very chatty and I was very quiet and in awe of him. He turned to me and said. "And who are you?" My first thought was, does it really matter? (I took piano lessons for nine years, was very mediocre and knew it). I just introduced myself and told him how wonderful his performance was. :rolleyes:
 
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eusebius

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Everyone in this competition is amazing, but Andrew Li strikes me as kind of a piano Nathan Chen. Excerpt from his bio:
Andrew Li credits his time in the Harvard University/New England Conservatory of Music joint program with substantially aiding in his development as a musician and a human being. He is currently finishing a bachelor’s degree in human evolutionary biology and a master’s in piano performance, the latter under the guidance of Wha Kyung Byun, with whom he has studied since the age of 12.
Another amazing fact about him: his brother George was a silver medalist in the 2015 Tchaikovsky Competition (also piano)!
 

UMBS Go Blue

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Yes! I've only started listening in earnest today - passively, in the background - and that one variation with the piercingly, jubilantly dissonant chords made me switch back to the feed and watch actively.

Also greatly enjoyed Honggi Kim's rendition of Schumann's Carnaval earlier. Took me back to my school years when I studied piano. A much needed dose of comfort food in these awful times.
 

UMBS Go Blue

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Wow! Still catching my breath from Clayton Stephenson's Gershwin concerto just now. Talk about seizing the moment. Just wow!

I won't ding him for performing the same concerto that a certain fluke skated to for her win at the Salt Lake City Olympics. :p :EVILLE:

As for Clayton, I'd listened to his online performances (round 1, round 2) at the Cleveland piano competition last year and felt that he was talented, but still needed lots of seasoning. What a difference a year makes. There were still some instances here at the Cliburn where he really meandered, like in his out-of-control opening to the Waldstein sonata in the semifinals, but, overall, he's really coming into his own at the right time. Here is his entire Cliburn program with links to most of his performances.

His personal story is quite something, too:
  • His African-American dad passed away not long ago, and he has largely been raised by his Chinese-American mom
  • His mom had to go from full-time to part-time work to take care of him, especially as he had allergies growing up
  • He didn't have a proper piano growing up in Brooklyn (he and his mom managed to salvage one from a dumpster), but got into Juilliard's music advancement program for underprivileged kids, where he was able to practice
  • He became the first student from this program and the first African-American to matriculate directly into the Juillard pre-college program
  • He finally got a proper piano at age 17 :eek: when Lang Lang noticed him and gifted him one
  • He also attended Dalton (quite a fancy prep school in New York) and is now a dual-degree student at Harvard and NEC
Some more background on him:
 
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UMBS Go Blue

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Here are also links to all 6 finalists. Each of these links should have all or most of their performances. If something is missing you can go to the Cliburn page on YouTube.

After the semifinals, I would personally rank the remaining pianists in the following order, with nothing from tonight changing my impressions.

1. Yunchan Lim - stellar all around, definitely a candidate to win
2 (tie). Uladzislau Khandohi - also a first-class musician, but, holy sh*t, his O-faces are sooooo distracting! I can only listen, not watch. :p
2 (tie). Dmytro Choni - solid all around, also the most handsome, so his O-faces are easy on the eyes :grope:
3 (tie). Anna Geniushene - the oldest remaining competitor and her maturity really shows
3 (tie). Clayton Stephenson - see above post
6. Ilya Shmukler - I would rather have had Yutong Sun, Masaya Kamei, or Marcel Tadokoro in the finals
 

Wyliefan

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I missed Clayton the other night and had to catch up later. But yes, he was amazing!

I agree thar Yunchan is a very strong candidate. He's been rock solid from the beginning.
 

UMBS Go Blue

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Just got through last night's performances, archived on YouTube:

Khandohi - the 1st movement of Rach 2 was textbook, as was most of the 2nd, then he really, really drew out the ending. The 3rd felt like it unraveled in places, and it didn't help that he and the orchestra didn't seem to be on the same page volume-wise. And, OMG, those mouth gestures! :yikes:

Geniushene - understated yet marvelous performance. Again, the most mature musician of the whole bunch.

Choni - :swoon: justifiably brought the house down with that Prokofiev 3! Fireworks. Elizabeth Joy Roe, the commentator, rightly noted how amazing the ending to the 1st movement was, and that's well before we even got to the end. I've already replayed it twice.
 
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eusebius

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Here are also links to all 6 finalists. Each of these links should have all or most of their performances. If something is missing you can go to the Cliburn page on YouTube.

After the semifinals, I would personally rank the remaining pianists in the following order, with nothing from tonight changing my impressions.

1. Yunchan Lim - stellar all around, definitely a candidate to win
2 (tie). Uladzislau Khandohi - also a first-class musician, but, holy sh*t, his O-faces are sooooo distracting! I can only listen, not watch. :p
2 (tie). Dmytro Choni - solid all around, also the most handsome, so his O-faces are easy on the eyes :grope:
3 (tie). Anna Geniushene - the oldest remaining competitor and her maturity really shows
3 (tie). Clayton Stephenson - see above post
6. Ilya Shmukler - I would rather have had Yutong Sun, Masaya Kamei, or Marcel Tadokoro in the finals
Yes ... I loved Kamei especially. And then I got a couple of gigs with heavy practice requirements so now I am totally out of the loop ... may have to try to catch up a bit tonight. Of course all of these young pianists are brilliant and deserving! Figure skating is difficult enough to judge ... I have no idea how these competition jurors can do it. (And I've adjudicated regional competitions myself ...)
 

UMBS Go Blue

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Phew! My heart is still racing. If the first two nights didn't already provide enough classic Cliburn competition "moments," then things got even better tonight.

Clayton Stephenson had a perfectly good rendition of Rach 3, but then Yunchan Lim blew the house down (as if he were shredding the score to pieces, in a good way) at the end. It was obvious that Lim delivered a transcendent moment, not just from the crowd's roaring applause but from Marin Alsop's breathless, exhausted reaction and the symphony musicians' appreciation at the end. Even the webcast commentators couldn't find the right words to describe it.
 
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