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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world.

A Dozen Advance in the Cliburn International Piano Competition In Fort Worth

Twelve young pianists have advanced to the semi-final round in the 14 th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth. The musicians are playing for a top $50,000 prize and three years of worldwide concerts.


Just a week ago, 30 young musicians began playing recitals in front of a piano-loving audience and twelve judges. With more than half the hopefuls now eliminated, the remaining semi-finalists range in age from 19 to 30, and come from Russia, the U.S., Italy, China, Australia, Japan, and Ukraine.

TomokiSakata, from Japan, is the youngest semi-finalist, but says in front of an audience, age doesn’t matter, just the music does.

“I’m the performer, I’m the interpreter. That’s not the main thing. We have to try and tell about the composer's thought. I think that’s the point,” saidSakata.  

At 20, BeatriceRana, of Italy isn’t much older. She’s just happy to be among the pianists still in this competition.

“I just want to show that I deserve what they thought about me.”

Ranaplayed some music ofBartokin the firstCliburnround, impressing even seasoned classical music professionals. The semi-final round begins Saturday. Pianists will interpret an original composition, and also collaborate with a string quartet. 

Here are the twelve Cliburn semi-finalists who advanced to the next round, in alphabetical order.  

Nikita Abrosimov, 24, Russia

Sean Chen, 24, United States

Alexey Chernov, 30, Russia

Alessandro Deljavan, 26, Italy 

Fei-Fei Dong, 22, China

Jayson Gillham, 26, Australia/United Kingdom 

Claire Huangci, 23, United States 

Vadym Kholodenko, 26, Ukraine

Nikolay Khozyainov, 20, Russia 

Nikita Mndoyants, 24, Russia 

Beatrice Rana, 20, Italy 

Tomoki Sakata, 19, Japan 

Copyright 2020 KERA. To see more, visit KERA.

Ralph Lauer / The Cliburn
The Cliburn

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues. Heâââ