A Surprise in Texas: The Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition on WXXI-TV

A Surprise in Texas: The Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition on WXXI-TV

Wed, 09/01/2010 - 9:30pm

The winners of the Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition (from left to right): Yeol Eum Son, 23 (Korea), Silver Medal; Nobuyuki Tsujii, 20 (Japan), Gold Medal (tie); Haochen Zhang, 19 (China), Gold Medal (tie).

Credit: Courtesy of Van Cliburn Foundation/Altré MEDIA

The finalists vie for the competition’s coveted Gold Medal.

The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition has been called “the most prestigious classical piano contest in the world” by the Chicago Tribune and “the musical Olympics of the western world” by the Milwaukee Journal. PBS presents A SURPRISE IN TEXAS: THE THIRTEENTH VAN CLIBURN INTERNATIONAL PIANO COMPETITION airing Wednesday, September 1 at 9:30 p.m. on WXXI-TV (DT21.1/cable 11/cable 1011).

Twenty-nine of the world’s best young pianists hailing from 14 countries converged in Fort Worth, Texas, in May 2009 for a once-in-a-lifetime chance at gold in the Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Emmy Award®-winning director Peter Rosen followed these distinctive personalities during a rigorous three-week competition — through intense rehearsals, introspective moments, preconcert rituals and endearing celebrations. With performances of Chopin, Liszt, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff and other composers setting the impassioned tone, the result is an intricate view into the inner workings of the world’s most prestigious piano competition, and a heartwarming story that proves to be a momentous surprise in Texas.

The documentary features Haochen Zhang of China, 19 — the youngest competitor — as well as blind pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii, 20, of Japan and Yeol Eum Son, 23, of South Korea.

The six finalists from the competition now have an unparalleled opportunity to perform throughout the United States, including more than 300 engagements coordinated by the Van Cliburn Foundation. In addition, the gold medalists will perform international engagements arranged by IMG Artists Europe. Collectively, the Cliburn winners will earn more than $1,000,000 during that time.

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