Six finalists of the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano competition were named late Tuesday night. They include four men and two women, each from different countries.
It was almost midnight when the 12 semi-finalists appeared onstage one last time to give their bows. They accepted a standing ovation from several hundred grateful fans who stayed in the hall to learn who would advance. Then the nervous dozen sat down as Jury Chair John Giordano named the six.
“The finalists for the 14th Cliburn International Piano Competition, as I call your name, please come to the stage…”
Giordano named Sean Chen, 24, from the United States, Fei-Fei Dong, 22, of China, Vadym Kholodenko, 26, from the Ukraine, Russian Nikita Mndoyants, 24, Beatrice Rana, 20, from Italy, and the youngest, at 19, Tomoki Sakata, of Japan, who was ecstatic to be a finalist.
“Wow, I’m very excited now. And very happy because now I can play the concerto with the Fort Worth Symphony.”
And Sakata said “I think I will be good.” Fei-Fei Dong wasn’t exactly sure how good she had been. Earlier Tuesday evening, her hour-long recital included Chopin’s challenging 24 Preludes, Opus 28.
“I wasn’t completely happy with my last recital I just finished. Because it’s a very new piece for me, Chopin Preludes. I learned it for the competition, so this was actually my first performance, a big performance of the piece,” said Dong.
The judges were obviously impressed. Now all pianists must get re-acquainted with the two concertos they’ll play, as they get ready for performances with the symphony. The final round begins Thursday evening and ends Sunday afternoon in Bass Hall. A short time later, awards will be announced. More than a week ago, the contest began with 30 pianists.