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 Post subject: Thirteenth Van Cliburn Piano Competition
PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 5:51 am 
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Just in case some of you weren't aware, the thirteenth Van Cliburn Piano Competition is upon us! It's running May 22nd through June 7. If you're interested in watching some of the performances, they have live web broadcasts available:

http://www.cliburn.org/index.php?page=broadcasts

Have fun watching those poor young pianists sweat! :D

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 9:47 pm 
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I CANT WAIT!

I'm gonna be there watching :D

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 9:06 pm 
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diminished2nd wrote:
I CANT WAIT!

I'm gonna be there watching :D


Are you going to have a chance to attend the competition in person? If so I'm really....envious! :D :D

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 9:08 pm 
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Yeah I'm waiting to get my tickets in the mail...

Now, for coming up with the money for a hotel room for 20 days :?

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 9:38 pm 
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Oh, diminished2nd, what an opportunity! That is so exciting. But yeah, I reckon coughing up the cashola for the hotel stay will be one of the least exciting aspects of attending the competition. :D

Seriously now… do keep me updated on what you see and hear! I’d really like to listen to another person’s perspective on the whole experience. I might be able to attend once or twice during the whole event (I live about an hour away), but since I’m studying for an exam during that time I’m thinking I’ll be doing most of my watching from the webcam. Who says you can’t study and watch at the same time? :D :wink: Anyway, have the time of your life at the competition!

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Though everything else may appear shallow and repulsive, even the smallest task in music is so absorbing, and carries us so far away from town, country, earth, and all worldly things, that it is truly a blessed gift of God.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:17 am 
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I'm sure I will! Except for being away from my piano and practicing for 2 1/2 weeks.......... :(

We'll have wi-fi in our hotel I assume, so I can put up comments on most of the recitals probably :P it should be a lot of fun! I especially can't wait for the quintets... I LOVE the quintets!

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:10 pm 
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Great, I'm really looking forward to your comments! I love the quintets too... particularly the Brahms. It is so lovely. I'm thinking of learning the two-piano version for a recital next year, provided the gal I'd like to play it with isn't too busy.

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Though everything else may appear shallow and repulsive, even the smallest task in music is so absorbing, and carries us so far away from town, country, earth, and all worldly things, that it is truly a blessed gift of God.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:29 pm 
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there's a two piano version of it?

!

I looove the scherzo from that one

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:20 am 
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diminished2nd wrote:
there's a two piano version of it?


Yes, there is! I think the story behind the evolution of the piece is that it was originally conceived as a string quartet; however, Clara Schumann persuaded Brahms that it would be more prudent to reshape it into a two-piano version. She didn't exactly like that either and set Brahms to make it into a piano quintet. Quite a fussy woman! After all that, she tried to coerce the poor composer to make it into a symphony but he declined. I would too! :roll:

I love Argerich and Zilberstein's recording of the two-piano work - it makes me wish more than ever that I could play with just half of the enthusiasm and expression that those two do. Not that wishing will get me anywhere... :lol:

diminished2nd wrote:
I looove the scherzo from that one


You like the scherzo too? It's my absolute favorite of the four movements! I've wondered if it could be played alone, as it seems plenty enthralling by itself, but unfortunately it ends on the dominant. I wonder how that could be fixed as to be inconspicuous? I've played around with it a bit and haven't really come up with much that's eminently satisfactory. Any ideas?

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Though everything else may appear shallow and repulsive, even the smallest task in music is so absorbing, and carries us so far away from town, country, earth, and all worldly things, that it is truly a blessed gift of God.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 3:20 am 
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diminished2nd's sig:
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That may be the funniest sig line ever. :lol:

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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 9:41 pm 
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Just got back from the 1st recital w/ the first 3 people's programs. Natacha Kudritskaya, Stephen Beus, and Ran Dank played. I would rank them 3-1-2 personally, but everyone else I've talked to seems to think it should be 3-2-1. Stephen was ABSOLUTELY amazing... He knew what he wanted to communicate with every note, and exactly how he wanted to communicate those things really clearly.

there's a live stream of all the recitals at www.cliburn.tv, btw, and after the recitals they're archiving it so you can watch it "on demand" I guess... everyone here should definitely check out Stephen and Ran once they're archived. Ran's Liszt was really incredible as well.

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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 12:20 am 
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I'm watching Mr. Tierra right now. Will check out the others once they are archived.

It's great you are able to attend! :wink:

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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 12:39 am 
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diminished2nd wrote:
Just got back from the 1st recital w/ the first 3 people's programs. Natacha Kudritskaya, Stephen Beus, and Ran Dank played. I would rank them 3-1-2 personally, but everyone else I've talked to seems to think it should be 3-2-1. Stephen was ABSOLUTELY amazing... He knew what he wanted to communicate with every note, and exactly how he wanted to communicate those things really clearly.


I agree wholeheartedly! I really hope he makes it to the next round.

Thanks for the update!

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Though everything else may appear shallow and repulsive, even the smallest task in music is so absorbing, and carries us so far away from town, country, earth, and all worldly things, that it is truly a blessed gift of God.

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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 1:23 pm 
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sarah wrote:
diminished2nd wrote:
Just got back from the 1st recital w/ the first 3 people's programs. Natacha Kudritskaya, Stephen Beus, and Ran Dank played. I would rank them 3-1-2 personally, but everyone else I've talked to seems to think it should be 3-2-1. Stephen was ABSOLUTELY amazing... He knew what he wanted to communicate with every note, and exactly how he wanted to communicate those things really clearly.


I agree wholeheartedly! I really hope he makes it to the next round.

Thanks for the update!


And unfortunately he didn't. :( The jury cut both Beus and Spencer Myer. :shock:

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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 4:06 pm 
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Horowitzian wrote:
And unfortunately he didn't. :( The jury cut both Beus and Spencer Myer. :shock:


I've been in mourning the whole day. :cry: They were two of my favorites... and Beus was my very favorite. Goodness, wonder what the jury was thinking. :roll: And one of the two pianists I detested got in the semis (don't worry, I don't plan to reveal their identity). :D The competition has already been quite a ride! I wonder what will happen next...

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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 11:07 pm 
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well, I had my list of 12 picked out with 4 prospective medalists, and 7 "other favourites" besides. only 4 of my top 12 made it, and 5 of my other 7. so 3 of them that advanced weren't anywhere on my list! only 1 of my prospective medalists did (at least it was the one I think might be gold). the other 3 I had down for those were Stephen Beus (silver) I LOVED HIM OMG! and then I couldn't decide for 3rd between Chetan Tierra (what a beautiful liszt ballade and amazing brahms/paganini!) or Zhang Zuo.

as a side note, Myer wasn't anywhere on my list... what exactly did you like about him?

But yeah... Haochen Zhang, who could possibly have THREE MORE CHANCES at this, above Beus?! it's Beus's last chance! and he was so much better anyway, and has waaaaaaaay more experience.

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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 11:59 pm 
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sarah wrote:
Horowitzian wrote:
And unfortunately he didn't. :( The jury cut both Beus and Spencer Myer. :shock:


I've been in mourning the whole day. :cry: They were two of my favorites... and Beus was my very favorite. Goodness, wonder what the jury was thinking. :roll: And one of the two pianists I detested got in the semis (don't worry, I don't plan to reveal their identity). :D The competition has already been quite a ride! I wonder what will happen next...


Mine too. ;) WHAT WERE THEY THINKING!!!!!!! :evil:

Fortunately, I still have favorites in Dank, Vocatello, Deljavan, and Bozhanov in the semis. 8)

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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 4:37 am 
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no love for eduard kunz around here? I think he should be a medalist...

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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 6:23 pm 
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Wow, Vacatello's Scriabin just now was beautiful. She's going to be tough to beat I think.

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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 6:49 pm 
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diminished2nd wrote:
well, I had my list of 12 picked out with 4 prospective medalists, and 7 "other favourites" besides. only 4 of my top 12 made it, and 5 of my other 7. so 3 of them that advanced weren't anywhere on my list! only 1 of my prospective medalists did (at least it was the one I think might be gold). the other 3 I had down for those were Stephen Beus (silver) I LOVED HIM OMG! and then I couldn't decide for 3rd between Chetan Tierra (what a beautiful liszt ballade and amazing brahms/paganini!) or Zhang Zuo.

as a side note, Myer wasn't anywhere on my list... what exactly did you like about him?

But yeah... Haochen Zhang, who could possibly have THREE MORE CHANCES at this, above Beus?! it's Beus's last chance! and he was so much better anyway, and has waaaaaaaay more experience.


Well, congratulations for getting some of the semifinalists right. :D I managed to miss the mark most of the time. Sometimes I don't know what planet the jury comes from. I really liked Tierra as well, and he didn't make it either. I guess the reason I liked Myer is that he could take repertoire that I don't usually care for and mold it into something that really held my interest. No, he's not my top guy, but I liked him anyway. And he was an American... :D I agree with you... Zhang didn't impress me nearly as much as Beus did, yet Zhang got in the semis somehow. I feel very sorry for Beus.

Horowitzian wrote:
Mine too. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING!!!!!!!

Fortunately, I still have favorites in Dank, Vocatello, Deljavan, and Bozhanov in the semis.


My sentiments exactly... :lol: I'm listening to Vocatello's semifinal recital right now and I really like her. I'd been out and missed her prelims recital. Man, she's good!

diminished2nd wrote:
no love for eduard kunz around here? I think he should be a medalist...


I do like him... he seems just a wee bit different to me. I'll warm up to him eventually! :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 6:54 pm 
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The biggest surprise to me is Haochen Zhang. That guy has no stage presence at all.

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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 7:33 pm 
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bclever wrote:
The biggest surprise to me is Haochen Zhang. That guy has no stage presence at all.

I too didn't think he'd have a chance. Maybe the jury favored him because of his age?

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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 5:56 am 
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that must be it about the age thing w/ haochen zhang.

I LOVE Eduard Kunz's interpretations of stuff. his quintet tonight was absolutely amazing. during the whole second movement there were probably 20 melodies in the left hand that I had literally never heard before which he brought out!

I really really loved Vacatello's prelim recital so I was excited to hear her again (especially her liszt sonata) but she too disappointed in the semi's imo. I was expecting the liszt to be so powerful and.. well, perfect. I thought her's was a little on the slow side though, and sounded too subdued. really her whole semi's recital didn't do much for me :-/

I'm really glad now that Ran Dank made it even though he wasn't on my top 12. his brahms quintet was also outstanding.

AND finally, Evgeni Bozhanov was nowhere on my list of people who I thought should advance, but I've never heard anything like his Schubert today!! :shock: that was SO incredible. I usually hate Schubert, but I think it's just because nobody seems to play it well. at least today I loved it, and it was really a pleasant surprise because I was expecting to be bored stiff for that half hour but I was completely captivated instead :)

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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 4:35 pm 
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Bozhanov's facial expressions do little for me, but dang he can play! I don't think you'll very see many pianists who play with the precision he does.

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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 4:43 pm 
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He is far and away the most musical of them all, at least from what I've heard. His
chamber rehearsal is even beautiful. I can't wait to hear this piece played in full.
Some people are complaining on the blogs that his playing is not very "traditional",
whatever that means, and the judges may hold that against him. I hope not.

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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 5:57 pm 
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Uh oh, I have to take back what I said about Haochen Zhang. This guy can play!

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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2009 1:18 pm 
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Wow, there's been some great music-making going on! Now I'm having a hard time picking favorites. :D I must admit, Kunz's quintet was gorgeous. I'll be out this weekend, so unfortunately I will miss the rest of the semis. :cry: Monday morning may contain quite a revelation in regards to the finalists. :roll:

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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2009 5:43 pm 
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Tsujii's Schumann quintet was easily his best performance, though the other quintets I have seen were better IMHO. Also fun to see the pianist not using music in a chamber performance.

Will be interesting to see who makes it... :roll:

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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2009 9:16 pm 
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Though I was unable to hear it all live, I tremendously enjoyed Kunz's semifinal recital. 8)

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 2:23 am 
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So what about the finalists? All a superb bunch. Bozhanov is definitely my favorite among this group. His Rach 2 rehearsal with the FWSO this afternoon was quite simply stunning. No Ran Dank or Andrea Lam is a bit disappointing, though. :cry: I would rather have seen either instead of Zhang.



Evgeni Bozhanov
Yeol Eum Son
Nobuyuki Tsujii
Mariangela Vacatello
Di Wu
Haochen Zhang




Tsujii is rehearsing the Chopin E minor right now with orchestra. Quite nice. 8)

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 8:30 pm 
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Horowitzian wrote:
I would rather have seen either instead of Zhang.


Agreed. :D

Honestly, IMHO, the jury did better with picking the finalists than the semifinalists, as the finalists seemed to make a good deal more sense. I am really eager to see how the jury ranks them in the end. Is it just me, or does Tsujii get better and better as the competition goes on? He seems more comfortable and is very expressive at the keyboard. I'm watching Vacatello's rehearsal with Prokofiev's 3rd... maybe she's going to be a medalist? She's definitely got a lot of personality. :wink:

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:17 pm 
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Agreed. :D

The finalists are a strong group. IMHO Zhang is the weak link because he lacks the musicality of the others.

And yes, I felt Tsujii has gotten better. His preliminary recital seemed a bit nervous, but I loved his semi performances, both his Schumann quintet and his solo recital. I have a feeling that wonderful Hammerklavier was a major factor in his advance to the finals. 8)

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 4:04 pm 
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Wow! That was some impressive playing last night. My dad thinks Bazhanov will probably work his way up in the ranks, and I suspect he's right. 8)

Diminished 2nd (or whatever your real name is...I can't remember :roll: ), during intermission between Vacatello and Bazhanov last night, the webcasters were playing highlights from the semis... and one of the clips, as best I could tell, was you getting an autograph from Kunz. You're famous now! :D

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It was! :D Bozhanov's facial theatrics aren't great, but he more than makes up for that with what comes out of his fingers. 8)

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That fool Conlon ruined Tsujii's Rach 2 by speeding up the tempo immediately after the introductory chords. :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:50 pm 
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Well, Di Wu just brought down the house with Rach 3. Now we wait. :D

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 1:11 am 
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Bronze (crystal): Not awarded.

Silver: Yeol Eum Son

Gold: Haochen Zhang and Nobuyuki Tsujii

:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING!!!!!

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I agree Horowitzian, that is a pretty poor selection of winners in my opinion if the
criterion is musicianship. However late into the night when I was still fuming over
this, I realized that maybe the criterion was not musicianship, but the ability to play
well with others (during some of the intermission videos was the stated goal of Van Cliburn)
which would make the concerto rounds far more important than the recital rounds.
Wu's Rach 3 was a disaster, traditionalists universally despised both of Bohzanov's concerti,
and many think Vacatello's Prok 3 had serious synchronization issues, whereas the
three winners had pretty consistent (although very boring) concerti.

I so looked forward to this competition and I watched every hour of it online, but now
with this group of winners the Cliburn has completely lost relevance for me. I just don't
care, and I dread the thought that Nobu or Zhang might be coming to Chicago as part of
their touring engagements and I will have to see them as part of my subscription series.

One more thing, if anybody reads this... For a real treat, go to www.cliburn.tv and
watch Evgeni Bohzanov's Finals recital round on June 5. His Davidsbundlertanze was amazing.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 5:10 pm 
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Yowza!!!

The most shocking to me was Zhang. I thought he'd get ranked sixth - even the fact that he got in the finals was a real surprise anyway. But to get a gold medal... :shock: I could see the way more clearly with Tsujii, as he seems to me to be a very musical and sensitive pianist (I thought he'd get the Crystal Award, Vacatello the silver, and Bohzanov the gold). Son only made any sense in the fact that the oldest three competitors did not even seem to be in the picture.

I see here a trend for picking the youngest competitors. Zhang and Tsujii were the two youngest finalists, and, if I'm remembering correctly, Son was the third youngest. During the awards ceremony, I think it was Richard R. who stated that the jury was told, essentially, to pick winners that would be the best ambassadors for the Van Cliburn Foundation. The older finalists would be poor choices, since they have already established reputations of their own apart from the Cliburn Competition. Looked at from that perspective, picking two young men who nobody's heard about until now makes plenty of sense. Son does too when looked at in that way. But, in my humble opinion, that's no way to run a competition. And that philosophy is going to seriously hamper the competition's future.

Now I will get off my soapbox and get after my neglected practice. :roll:

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 7:20 pm 
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Good points, all. No need to add to them. :D

I will say that I enjoyed everything Bozhanov did (I dig that kind of playing, not the facial theater, just the playing; please go easy on me! :lol: ), especially his Franck quintet which certainly deserved the discretionary prize it got.

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Horowitzian wrote:
Good points, all. No need to add to them. :D

I will say that I enjoyed everything Bozhanov did (I dig that kind of playing, not the facial theater, just the playing; please go easy on me! :lol: ), especially his Franck quintet which certainly deserved the discretionary prize it got.


I condemn thee not... :D I can easily see why you like Bohzanov's playing. You'd have to be deaf not to. :wink: I appreciate him as well, although I do perfer the more "traditional" approaches of some of the other finalists. I thought for sure that the judges would recognize his innate musicality and give him the gold. My dad was positive he was "THE" one. And to see the poor fellow given only a passing notice at the awards ceremony was just a bit much.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 10:14 pm 
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:D

I too thought for sure he was the gold medalist. His innate musicality is simply incredible; I'd hesitate to label him the next Horowitz, but he is just that kind of pianist.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 10:43 pm 
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Well, I'm finally home and unpacked and everything, and had time to catch up on this thread.

I must say that I disagree with what most of you are saying really. Bozhanov was probably my 2nd favourite after the semis, his frank quintet and schubert sonata were both incredible. But his final round solo recital was sloppy (even the Schumann that somebody else here mentioned)... the last chord of the whole recital (in the exciting, but again, sloppy faust waltz) was a complete splat! I had dinner with one of the competitors from the semis who was eliminated, who said about Bozhanov's Chopin, "I'm really familiar with the Chopin Concerto and love it, but I had never heard the Bozhanov Concerto before..." I think that's going a little far, and I liked it (the concerto). But what he did with the Rach 2 was completely disgusting. I couldn't even hear the orchestra half the time because he was just banging his way through it!

My choices for awards after the finals were:

2 golds:
Haochen Zhang
Yeol Eum Son

2 silvers:
Mariangela Vacatello
Di Wu

I'll explain:

Zhang really didn't have my attention at all (I actually disliked him) until the finals, but his Gaspard was the best we heard the whole time (the control in Le Gibet!), and I don't see how his concerti were "boring". Sure, his Prokofiev was fairly docile next to Son's, but it was exciting enough in my opinion. And to play Mozart on the level he did was really amazing...

Son was one of my favourites after the semis, and didn't disappoint in the finals for me. I thought her solo recital was a little gutsy (if not downright strange) with no... "bombs" :P on it, but it complimented the prok 2nd concerto well I thought. To play something as simple as the Bach-Petri piece she did, and to bring it off so well, would be extremely hard I think.

Vacatello was a little like Zhang for me before the finals. She didn't seem to have a personality at all... but starting with Scarbo (the best of that particular movement of Gaspard that we heard, imo...) and through the Shostakovich p+f in her final round solo recital was awesome. I also loved her Prok 3, even though the last note of the first mvt was at least 2 beats ahead of the orchestra :P

Di Wu, I was really looking forward to in the finals because her Miroirs was SO amazing in the prelims that I assumed her Gaspard would be equally good, but it just didn't do it for me. What DID do it for me was her Rach 3. Who was it here that said it was a disaster?! Could you explain? :shock:

I don't see what ANYBODY here sees in Tsujii. He is really incredible as a blind pianist, but the Cliburn isn't for outstanding blind pianists, it's simply for the best young pianists in the world... Tsujii was clearly not on the same level as the rest of the finalists. For one thing, since he's blind he can't lift his hands more than about an inch or 2 off the keyboard or he would lose his place, but for that reason he can't prepare his hands for the different sounds required most of the time. If only he weren't so darn inspiring... :lol:

My choices for the other awards were:

Best Chamber Performance:
Andrea Lam
Evgeni Bozhanov

Jury Discretionary Award(s):
Eduard Kunz (who I thought by all means should've advanced to the finals over Tsujii or Vacatello, and before I heard the finals, Zhang)
Ran Dank maybe? He seemed REALLY good to me, but I can't put my finger on what I actually liked about him so much (?)
Michail Lifits (his Liszt sonata was incredible apart from the 3 memory slips, which shouldn't happen at this level even if you do hear 3 cell phones ring... STUPID CELL PHONES :evil: )

Best Performance of a New Work:
Michail Lifits
Eduard Kunz (I thought this wasn't probable, just because he had to actually start over after the first 2 notes, and there was the one hesitation when the page turner was late... but I thought the feel for that piece was spot on in his performance more than anybody else who played the Bates. and the snapping fingers in the end was awesome!)

Now... hopefully my message wasn't too long for everybody to wade through haha. And yes, that is me getting Kunz's autograph in the semifinal recap/highlights video! FUNNY STORY ABOUT THAT:

I became facebook friends with him a couple days before that, and when I shook his hand there he was like "facebook friends? Austin, right?" I had NO idea what to say or think! Why would he remember me just from becoming friends on fb?? (I don't remember if I've already told this story here or not... it was so exciting hahaha)

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:18 pm 
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Glad that you made it back home safe and sound! You'd better catch up on your practice now. :D

Well, I suppose we shall agree to disagree. :D Honestly, I think part of the reason for the bizarre outcome of the competition was because of the diversity of thought in regards to most competitors. Take Di Wu, for example - some really didn't like her, and others loved her (I fall in the latter group :wink: ). I think this problem affected not just us onlookers, but the judges as well. Many times there's a definite polarization in a competition, but not this time. Opinions were all over the place.

That being said, I didn't get to listen to Bohzanov's Rach 2. I suspect that was a repertoire blooper on his part. :D But I did hear his Chopin's 2nd, and I thought at the time that his rendition would either help or hurt him because of its definite "originality" (to put it mildly). I have the sneaking suspicion that the contrast between Bohzanov's version of the concerto and Tsujii's performance of it a day later was what helped Tsujii get the gold medal. :wink:

Great story about your encounter with Kunz. I wouldn't know what to say either! You must've made a very positive impression on him.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:08 am 
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yeah I loved di wu also for the most part, I just wasn't a HUGE fan of her gaspard...

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:23 am 
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I didn't like most of the concertos ; the orchestra seems out of it. Many mistakes, horrible tempos changes (though to be fair some of the pianists did an amazing job coping with it, adding beats for instance, by replaying a final chord, etc.).
Bozhanov's Rach2 was pretty bad in my uninformed opinion : he really overdoes his fortissimos, bangs on the keys (just the opening of the first movement where he hits the basses like mad is atrocious I thought), and he tries to bring secondary melodic lines when the primary should be calm, serene and emphasized. He lacked delicacy in many parts, just like Tsugi lacked strenght. I haven't witnessed it, but I've read the steinway was as good as dead after he played on it...

I don't understand why they all played that Bates piece, weird Debussy / Gerschwin hybrid with many register changes to sound deep... I find it boring... Especially when there was such a great hammerklavier. Was he a sponsored composer ? Trendy ? Amazing piece of misunderstood (by me) genius ? Free win ?

Overall I didn't really like that competition. The players lacked charisma... I mean, you can't help but go "woah" when you hear, say, Pogorelich at that Chopin competition. There I haven't wow'ed... (though I haven't seen everything yet).


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:12 pm 
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If my memory is serving me correctly, Teddy, the reason why so many of the pianists you heard played Bates' "White Lies for Lomax" is that all semifinalists were required to play one of the four winning compositions of an affiliated composing competition. Bates' piece ended up being the favorite of the four, and he got a prize from the Cliburn Foundation for that.

I don't quite understand why Bohzanov started banging away during the finals. I don't remember much of that going on during the prelims and semis. Maybe he got so sleep-deprived that he either went into "default mode" or lost control. :? Don't know.

The pianists in this competition may not have been the best we've ever heard, but hearing so many talented young people at one time has made me wish harder than ever that I had the abilities of the least of them. I guess I've just got to practice harder! :D

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 3:45 am 
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Of course don't get me wrong they were all great pianist ! Just, you know, classic piano is such a demanding art I guess, only a handful make it to stardom :p

Thanks for the explanation on the Bates affair, I just couldn't fashion why they were playing that...


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 6:09 am 
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sarah wrote:
If my memory is serving me correctly, Teddy, the reason why so many of the pianists you heard played Bates' "White Lies for Lomax" is that all semifinalists were required to play one of the four winning compositions of an affiliated composing competition. Bates' piece ended up being the favorite of the four, and he got a prize from the Cliburn Foundation for that.

I don't quite understand why Bohzanov started banging away during the finals. I don't remember much of that going on during the prelims and semis. Maybe he got so sleep-deprived that he either went into "default mode" or lost control. :? Don't know.

The pianists in this competition may not have been the best we've ever heard, but hearing so many talented young people at one time has made me wish harder than ever that I had the abilities of the least of them. I guess I've just got to practice harder! :D


Great post, Sarah! I agree. :D

My personal theory is that Conlon's nasty habit of micromanaging the soloists to some degree or other pissed Bozhanov off.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:38 am 
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Yeah I didn't remember Bozhanov banging in the prelims/semis either (Schubert? amazing.) Have you heard the recording of Rachmaninoff himself playing it? In the beginning section that you mentioned, he actually does the same thing that Bozhanov did... I don't like it either though (is that a bad thing? not liking what the composer does with his own piece? :P)

And about the concerti... the orchestra was CLEARLY incompetent. If you watch the documentaries from '05 and before, and then look around at the orch. this year though, there are a LOT of new people, so maybe that's why? Some things were completely disgusting though (coming out of the 1st mvt cadenza in Yeol Eum Son's Prokofiev 2nd, the low brass came in way late and at like... half tempo........ or the jump forward at the beginning of Tsujii's Rach 2...)

Memory did serve you right, Sarah. And I actually liked the Bates piece... in fact, I liked it so much that I bought the score (that and the Hagen suite, which I actually wasn't too thrilled with until Lifits played it. everyone here should check out his whole semifinal recital btw... liszt sonata, hagen suite, and the best prokofiev 7th ever)

As for the pianists this year not having the "wow" factor... maybe it was just because I was actually there, but quite a few of them seemed to have that for me. So much so that I lost count of how many "passed the goosebumps test", and 4 or 5 performances even brought me to tears... Di Wu's Rach 3, and her Miroirs from the prelims, Stephen Beus DEFINITELY had the "wow" factor w/ his barber sonata and spanish rhapsody (prelims), Eduard Kunz did in a different way in his Dvorak Quintet, in which I heard a ton of melodies I didn't even know existed before that he brought out, Zuo Zhang's Fireflies Etude (prelims), Haochen Zhang's Gaspard (finals), I could list more...

The one thing that disappointed me about this year was that we didn't really hear any Hungarian Rhapsodies, or the Reminiscences de Don Juan (sp??) :(

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