Classical Music World: Notes From Cliburn 7

Cliburn finalists, standing, from left, Americans Daniel Hsu and Kenneth Broberg, South Korean Yekwon Sunwoo, Russian Yuri Favorin, and seated: Rachel Cheung of Hong Kong and Georgy Tchaidze of Russia. Courtesy Photo 


Artistic Director
Los Alamos Concert Association
It was a long and busy last day in the Cliburn Competition semi-final round.

Kenneth Broberg of the U.S. shot up in my estimation after a magisterial performance of the Liszt B-minor sonata.  Italian Leonardo Pierdomenico sank just a little after a nice but not stellar recital. Yekwon Sunwoo of South Korea gave the finest performance of a Mozart concerto of the competition and Rachel Cheung (Hong Kong) brought the round to a close at 10 p.m. with a different Mozart concerto played beautifully.

Then we wandered about. We looked at plastic piano Christmas ornaments and rhinestone-studded musical bling in the Bass Hall gift shop. We watched an electronic grand piano reproduce Van Cliburn’s performance of some Rachmaninoff. We checked out (again) the Cliburn-themed goods in the lobby: scarves, socks, ties, key chains, umbrellas (or maybe those were all sold out after the major thunderstorm the day before), t-shirts for infants, shot glasses. We visited the drinking fountains and the splendid restrooms … 35 stalls in the ladies room!

Finally, at about 11 p.m., Maestro Leonard Slatkin took the stage to announce the names of the six competitors who would advance to the finals. All the competitors had assembled in the front two rows of the hall, all excited and clearly enjoying each other’s company. They have been through a lot together.

And the finalists are Kenneth Broberg and Daniel Hsu of the United States, Georgy Tchaidze and Yuri Favorin of Russia, Yekwon Sunwoo of South Korea and Rachel Cheung of Hong Kong.  


Next morning, in our hotel elevator, we ran into a jury member who was clearly dying to know how people were taking their decision. He was very pleased that we were completely happy with all but one of the finalists. The jury gag order must be so difficult to maintain but he managed.


We spent our concert-free day enjoying the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, a nice breather after so many days inside. Finals coming up!