NEWS: Two Americans reach final round of Van Cliburn Piano Competition

By Robert D. Thomas
Music Critic
Southern California News Group

Two Americans — Kenneth Broberg and Daniel Hsu — are among six pianists who have advanced to the final round of the 15th quadrennial Van Cliburn Piano Competition in Ft. Worth, Texas. Two of the finalists are from Russia, one is from Hong Kong and the sixth from South Korea.

A native of Minneapolis, the 23-year-old Broberg earned a Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music. He is now a graduate student working with 2001 Cliburn gold medalist Stanislav Loudenitch at Park University in Parkville, Missouri. Broberg has won first prizes at the Hastings and Dallas international piano competitions.

Hsu, 19, is a student with Gary Graffman and Eleanor Sokolof at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. A native of the San Francisco Bay area, Hsu has been at Curtis since age 10. He was a 2016 Gilmore Young Artist winner and won the bronze medal at the 9th Hamamatsu International Piano Competition. As first-prize winner of the 2015 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition, Hsu made his Carnegie Hall debut in April 2017. Read Peter Dorbrin’s report in the Philadelphia Inquirer HERE.

The final round runs from June 7-10. Each contestant plays a piano quintet with the Brentano String Quartet and a concerto with the Ft. Worth Symphony, conducted by Leonard Slatkin. Broberg will play Dvorak’s Piano Quintet in A Major, op. 81 and Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Hsu will play Franck’s Piano Quintet in F Minor and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1.

Two of the other contestants — Yekwon Sunwoo, 28, of South Korea, and 29-year-old Russian Georgy Tchaidze — will also play the Dvorak Piano Quintet. Yury Favorin, 30, also from Russia, will play the Franck Piano Quintet, while Rachel Cheung, 25, from Hong Kong
, is the outlier — she will play the Brahms Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34.

All six will play different concertos in the final round In addition to Broberg and Hsu (listed above) Cheung will play the Beethoven No. 4; Favorin, Prokofiev No. 2; Sunwoo, Rachmaninoff No. 3, and Tchaidze, Prokofiev No. 3.

Complete bio information on the contestants is HERE.

The entire final round will be live-streamed. LINK For the first time, the last two final-round concerts will be shown in cinemas nationwide. The broadcast starts 9:55 a.m. Pacific Time on Saturday, June 10. It begins with a delayed presentation of Friday night’s performances, leading into a live simulcast of Saturday afternoon’s performances. The presentation will feature all six finalists in their final concertos with orchestra, four via tape delay and the final two live. Information:

Among the gold medal winner’s prizes will be an appearance with the Pacific Symphony on Sept. 9 at its new site, the Orange County Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa. The PS Web site lists Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 as the winner’s vehicle, presuming the winner either knows it or can learn it in three months. Information:

(c) Copyright 2017, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Pinterest Reddit Tumblr Email