Cliburn winners among musicians in upcoming Cliburn Concerts series

Two Van Cliburn International Piano Competition gold medalists are among the musical talent coming to Fort Worth as part of the upcoming 2010-11 season of Cliburn Concerts, the Van Cliburn Foundation announced Thursday.

Kicking off the season, titled "Bringing Home the Gold," will be Haochen Zhang, one of two gold medalists from the 2009 Cliburn Competition. Zhang makes his first return to the Bass Hall stage after his Cliburn victory and on the heels of many concerts in Washington, D.C.; New York; and San Francisco, among other cities.

And Olga Kern will return in April 2011 to the Bass Hall stage to mark the 10-year anniversary of her first-place finish in the 2001 Cliburn Competition.

Looking to relive her Russian-flavored triumph of a decade ago, Kern is planning an all-Russian program including works by Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff.

Several firsts dot the Cliburn Concerts schedule. Regional favorite pianist Stephen Hough will make his Cliburn Concerts debut this season. Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato will make her Metroplex debut, offering a recital, accompanied by her longtime collaborator-pianist, David Zobel.

And the Juilliard String Quartet will make its first-ever appearance in a Cliburn Concert. The famed quartet will play with Carol Wincenc, one of the world's most lauded flutists.

The Cliburn Concerts audience will also be the first outside of New York City to hear one of Wincenc's commissioned works, Joan Tower's Rising.

The Cliburn season will also be marked by several intriguing collaborations. John Musto -- whose work Improvisation & Fugue was performed by last year's Cliburn co-gold medalist, Nobuyuki Tsujii (for which he won a best performance of a new work award) -- will team with soprano Amy Burton for an afternoon of highly inventive art songs.

And William Bolcom, who composed the Nine Bagatelles for the 10th Cliburn Competition, will be joined by mezzo-soprano Joyce Castle, a Beaumont native, in an afternoon concert devoted to music by Bolcom and French composer Darius Milhaud.