Van Cliburn

Cliburn competition field narrows to 12 semifinalists

The semifinalists were named late Tuesday night after the quarterfinal round of the 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition at Bass Performance Hall.
The semifinalists were named late Tuesday night after the quarterfinal round of the 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition at Bass Performance Hall. rmallison@star-telegram.com

A dozen pianists get to stay, but eight have played their last notes in the 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, with the second cut made late Tuesday night at Bass Performance Hall.

The Cliburn jury chose the 12 pianists who will continue, getting the chance to perform with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in the semifinal round.

Only one female competitor, Rachel Cheung, advanced to the semifinals along with 11 men. The jury continued to be impressed with the South Koreans — three of the four quarterfinalists advanced, along with two American pianists, Daniel Hsu and Kenneth Broberg. The youngest competitor, 18-year-old Tony Yike Yang from Canada, also moved on to the semifinal round.

Cheung said she doesn’t feel any additional pressure as the lone female pianist left in the competition.

“I was so surprised because everybody here is so great and they played so beautifully,” Cheung said.

Russian pianist Yuri Favorin, who did not make it past the preliminary round in the 2013 competition, said he is looking forward to playing with the symphony during the semifinals.

“It demands strength and expression,” Favorin said.

The cut came after two long days of 45-minute quarterfinal piano recitals. The judges listened to 10 competitors each on Monday and Tuesday before making their selections late Tuesday evening.

Canadian pianist Tristan Teo, who will turn 20 on Wednesday, said it was a huge relief that he didn’t make the semifinals.

“I have a tradition on my birthday that I never practice, now I don’t have to practice! So I get to keep my tradition going,” Teo said, adding that he was honored to make the quarterfinals at a young age and plans to try for the Cliburn competition four years from now.

In the grueling semifinal round, each competitor will perform a 60-minute recital and a Mozart concerto with the Fort Worth symphony conducted by Nicholas McGegan.

This is the first time a concerto will be played in the semifinal round. Previously, the semifinalists performed a piano quintet with a string quartet.

This year, the quintet performance, in which six finalists will perform with the Brentano String Quartet, has been moved to the final round.

Cliburn chief executive Jacques Marquis said the webcast of the competition has had mroe than 600,000 views, more than the entire 2013 competition. It has also reached more than 2.3 million people through social media on Facebook and Instagram.

The competition takes a break on Wednesday and then the first semifinal recital will begin on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

The final awards ceremony for the gold, silver and bronze medalists — followed by a closing party at Sundance Square — is June 10.

The semifinalists are:

Kenneth Broberg, 23, United States

Han Chen, 25, Taiwan

Rachel Cheung, 25, Hong Kong

Yuri Favorin, 30, Russia

Daniel Hsu, 19, United States

Dasol Kim, 28, South Korea

Honggi Kim, 25, South Korea

Leonardo Pierdomenico, 24, Italy

Yutong Sun, 21, China

Yekwon Sunwoo, 28, South Korea

Georgy Tchaidze, 29, Russia

Tony Yike Yang, 18, Canada

The remaining competitors were announced late Tuesday.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @andreaahles

FIFTEENTH VAN CLIBURN INTERNATIONAL PIANO COMPETITION

May 25-June 10

Bass Hall, Fort Worth

Semifinal round: June 1-5. Twelve competitors will play a 60-minute solo recital and a Mozart piano concerto with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. $280-$450 round subscription; $30-$120 per concert.

Final round: June 7-10. Six competitors will play a piano quintet with the Brentano String Quartet and a concerto with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. $150-$260 round subscription; $45-$180 per concert.

Awards presentation: 7 p.m. June 10. $30-$40.

The entire competition will be webcast live, hosted by pianists Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe, at Cliburn2017.medici.tv. Content also will be available on demand. The final round will be broadcast in movie theaters around the country. For information and tickets, visit www.FathomEvents.com.

For more information, scheduling and tickets, visit Cliburn.org. Follow complete competition coverage at Star-Telegram.com

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