The 16th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition begins this week in Fort Worth. Thirty young pianists will compete for cash prizes totaling $265,000, as well as management services worth over $1 million.

Among the contestants will be Dmytro Choni, a 28-year-old Ukrainian who auditioned here shortly after his family fled Kyiv during the siege.

Kyiv-born Choni is based in Graz, Austria, but has friends and family in Ukraine. He said during the auditions that he “tried to just focus on the music”.

With his family fleeing war-torn Kyiv, the Ukrainian pianist takes part in Fort Worth’s Cliburn

The normally quadrennial competition, delayed a year by the coronavirus pandemic, will be held from June 2-18.

Seventy-two competitors were selected from 388 international applicants for pre-selection auditions held March 6-12 at PepsiCo Recital Hall at Texas Christian University.

An early digital rendering of the Van Cliburn Concert Hall at TCU, which has since been completed and is now named PepsiCo Recital Hall at Texas Christian University. (Van Cliburn International Piano Competition)

The Russians make up the largest group of competitors by country, with six, followed by China with five. Four pianists come from South Korea and three from the United States.

Yekwon Sunwoo from South Korea wins the Cliburn Piano Competition

While some arts organizations have protested the Russian invasion of Ukraine by boycotting Russian artists and ensembles, the Cliburn does not.

The competition will consist of four rounds, including solo recitals and concertos with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. The chamber music cycle included in previous years has been discontinued.

The preliminary rounds and quarterfinals — June 2-4 and June 5-6, respectively — will take place at TCU’s new Van Cliburn Concert Hall. The semi-finals and final — June 18-12 and June 14-18 — will take place at Bass Performance Hall.

Here is the list of competitors, in addition to Choni. (The ages listed correspond to the time of the competition.)

Tianxu An, China, 23; Yangrui Cai, China, 21; Albert Cano Smit, Spain/Netherlands, 25; Federico Gad Crema, Italy, 23; Anna Geniushene, Russia, 31; Francesco Granata, Italy, 23; Arseniy Gusev, Russia, 23; Masaya Kamei, Japan, 20; Uladzislau Khandohi, Belarus, 20;

Honggi Kim, South Korea, 30; Elizaveta Kliuchereva, Russia, 23; Shuan Hern Lee, Australia, 19; Andrew Li, USA, 22; Yunchan Lim, South Korea, 18; Denis Linnik, Belarus, 26; Kate Liu, USA, 28; Ziyu Liu, China, 24; Jonathan Mak, Canada, 25; Georgijs Osokins, Latvia, 27;

Jinhyung Park, South Korea, 26; Changyong Shin, South Korea, 28; Ilya Shmukler, Russia, 27; Vitaly Starikov, Russia, 27; Clayton Stephenson, USA, 23; Yutong Sun, China, 26; Marcel Tadokoro, France/Japan, 28; Sergey Tanin, Russia, 26; Yuki Yoshimi, Japan, 22; and Xiaolu Zang, China, 22 years old.

After a year of COVID delay, Cliburn competition puts Fort Worth piano center stage again


Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth. Preliminary round (June 2-4) and quarter-final (June 5-6) at the Van Cliburn Concert Hall at Texas Christian University, 2900 W. Lowden St. Semi-final (June 8-12) and final (14-18 June) at Bass Salle de spectacle, Quatrième and Commerce. Single tickets $30 to $225; subscription packages from $162 to $2,900. 817-738-6536.

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