News / Arts & Entertainment

World Class Pianists Vie for Van Cliburn Prize

Gold Medal winner Vadym Kholodenko, 26, of Ukraine, performs during final rounds of the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas, on June 9, 2013. (Carolyn Cruz/ The Cliburn)
Gold Medal winner Vadym Kholodenko, 26, of Ukraine, performs during final rounds of the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas, on June 9, 2013. (Carolyn Cruz/ The Cliburn)
Gail Wein
A 26 year old from Ukraine has won one of music's most prestigious competitions.

Vadym Kholodenko took home top honors after a series of masterful performances at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

World class

Every four years, since 1962, pianists have come from all over the world to compete in the competition. 

Kholodenko was one of 30 competitors, age 19 to 30, who gathered in Fort Worth, Texas this month to perform before a panel of jurors who are experts in the piano world, as well as a live public audience and thousands who watched the live webcasts. After a series of recitals and chamber music performances, six finalists were selected.

To get to the finals of the Van Cliburn competition takes years of study, countless hours of practice and nerves of steel.

Listen to the audio
World Class Pianists Vie for Van Cliburn Prizei
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

Sean Chen, from southern California, one of six finalists, had been building up to this point all of his life.

"Cliburn has one of the largest reaching influences of any competition," Chen said. "All finalists get management...all of the finalists get concerts in the next four years. That’s the most important thing for any up-and-coming young artist."

Goose bumps

The judges have a tough job. Every pianist they’ve heard during the preliminary and semi-final rounds of the competition is hugely accomplished, has astonishing technical skills, and gives thoroughly artistic interpretations of the music.

They all sound spectacular, even to the well-trained ear.  So, the judges look for nuances.

"It’s not a matter of judging technical prowess, that’s almost  taken for granted," said John Giordano, the competition's jury chairman who has been on the jury since 1973. "Some aspects are pretty simple. Do I want to hear this person again? Sometimes, it’s something as simple as goose bumps...if they miss notes and the message is there, and it really reaches you, you ignore that."
Crystal winner Sean Chen (left) silver medalist Beatrice Rana (center) and winner Vadym Kholodenko (right) in the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas, on June 9, 2013. (Ralph Lauer/ The Cliburn)Crystal winner Sean Chen (left) silver medalist Beatrice Rana (center) and winner Vadym Kholodenko (right) in the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas, on June 9, 2013. (Ralph Lauer/ The Cliburn)
All in all, it’s extremely high-pressure with grindingly stiff competition. But for young pianists, like silver medalist Beatrice Rana, who is from Italy, it’s worth it.

"Because it’s one of most important piano competitions in the world, and it’s one of the few competitions that can provide a stable career for the finalists," Rana said. "I think a good placement in the Cliburn can provide a wonderful future for someone that aspires to be a concert pianist."

Elite musicians

​This is the first competition since its namesake, Van Cliburn, passed away in February from bone cancer. 

Cliburn became a household name in 1958 when he took first prize in another famous piano competition, the Tchaikovsky, in Moscow. He was the first non-Russian to win, a significant victory during the Cold War era. Cliburn was honored with a ticker-tape parade on his return to the United States.

After hearing dozens of solo recitals, chamber music performances and concerts performed with the Fort Worth Symphony, the judges deliberated about who would take home the top prize.  Suspense was high in the auditorium when the announcement was made Sunday night.

Kholodenko joins the elite club of Van Cliburn winners, who are ranked among classical music’s leading concert artists.

You May Like

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land In French Port

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching 'Fortress Europe' More

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

New Hints That Dark Matter Exists

New evidence from International Space Station hints at existence of dark matter and dark energy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Trumpeter, percussionist and bandleader Etienne Charles was born in Trinidad and blends island rhythms with modern jazz. He and his stellar band perform a rich gumbo of jazz, calypso, reggae, and rock-steady that Charles calls “Creole Soul” on "The Hamilton Live."