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

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost-Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the latest edition of "Beyond Category" blues singer and guitarist Corey Harris performs with his band and talks about his travels in West Africa tracing the roots of the blues.