Van Cliburn

Cliburn confidential: Claire Huangci

Cliburn confidential

17 of 30

A series of conversations with the Cliburn competitors

Claire Huangci

Nationality: American

Born: Rochester, N.Y.

Lives: Lansdale, Pa.

Age: 23

If she had to pick a composer to play above and beyond all others, who would it be and why? “This is almost as hard as choosing a favorite ice cream flavor,” she says. “It varies almost on a daily basis. Today, I would have to say Prokofiev.”

Contemporary pianist she most admires: Mikhail Pletnev

How does she unwind when not practicing the piano? Cooking, hanging out with friends, reading and jogging, she says. Her favorite book is Catching Fire from the “Hunger Games” trilogy by Suzanne Collins. She’s currently listening to Muse’s The 2nd Law on her iPod.

Does she have a certain Cliburn aspiration that will spur her playing? “To play to the best of my ability without any regrets,” she says.

The food she craves most often: Soft-shell crab sushi roll, aka spider roll.

The first really Texan thing she plans on doing upon arriving in Fort Worth: “Buy a cowgirl outfit, complete with boots, hat and skirt,” she says.

If she could travel back in time, which famous composer would she like to visit and what would be the first question she would ask? “Alexander Scriabin, and I would beg him to play me his Fifth Sonata,” she says.

— Andrew Marton, Special to the Star-Telegram

14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition

• May 24-June 9

• Bass Hall, Fort Worth