The Cliburn Report 11: Im Chambre séparée

Claire Huangci

Photo: Ralph Lauer

[I will be covering the final round of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in June. Meanwhile I’m picking the best of the current press coverage for you dining and dancing pleasure.]

The semifinal round of performances kicked off this afternoon with recitals by Claire Huangci and Nikita Mndoyants flanking a performance of the Schumann Piano Quintet by Beatrice Rana and the Brentano Quartet. The evening brought the Dvorák Piano Quintet with Nikita Abrosimov, a recital by Tomoki Sakata, and the Franck Piano Quintet with Vadym Kholodenko. Recitals will alternate with piano quintet performances through June 4th, at which point each one of the dozen semifinalists will have done one of each and the six finalists will be announced.

Scott Cantrell of the Dallas Morning News was most impressed with Mr. Mndoyants, somewhat less so with everyone else. Gregory Isaacs at TheaterJones, by way of contrast, lavished praise on Ms. Rana and the Brentano for their Schumann but was less taken with Mr. Mndoyants.

Nikita Mndoyants

Photo: Ralph Lauer

Both, however, agreed that Mr. Abrosimov was totally out of his depth in the Dvorák.

In this round, all the contestants are being asked to play a new work (Birichino) by Christopher Theofanidis. Jan Farrington of TheaterJones has an interesting interview with Mr. Theofanidis about his composition and his reaction to the performances he has seen so far. The only piece of Mr. Theofanidis’s that I know is his entrancing Rainbow Body, so I’m looking forward to catching this new work.

On the blog scene, David Stabler of The Oregonian notes that the live webcast is “addicting.” Too true. So is the Cliburn’s YouTube channel, where you can see archived versions of the pereliminary round recitals.

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