Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
May 25 - June 10, 2017

Van Cliburn International Piano Competition

Quarter Finals Underway!

Day Five was long, intense, but ultimately simple.

The first day of Quarter Finals is logistically simple. With a grand total of twenty Quarter Finalists, the schedule is very tight but dictated by logic. Su Yeon Kim, Leonardo Pierdomenico, Ilya Shmukler, Dasol Kim, Tristan Teo, Martin James Bartlett, Daniel Hsu, Yury Favorin, Yutong Sun, and Luigi Carroccia all performed exquisitely during Day Five. Fitting ten recitals into one day is a task best left to the professional crews of The Cliburn and! Ironically, on a day like Day Five, no news is good news. Time is of the essence as the Quarter Final round differs significantly from the Preliminary Round in terms of scheduling.

The art of running a production of this magnitude is understanding the variable of the individual. Some competitors are acutely aware of the necessity to be precisely on schedule, while others operate more loosely. This is not particularly problematic due to our crews learning each candidate's personality type. There are subtleties in how they are approached when they are led from their warmup room to the backstage waiting area. For example, one candidate typically takes an extra minute to check their hair before they head backstage, this means that the crew must anticipate candidate behaviors and plan accordingly. 

Once the candidate leaves the warmup room, the cameras are rolling. There is no privacy past the stage doors. All cameras are on the competitors both on and off stage. Again, we must observe and cater to the tendencies of each competitor. Some prefer to be left alone entirely as they pace and stretch before they go on stage. In fact, there was one competitor who was concentrating so intensely that they stared at the wall for several minutes before they performed. Whereas others will chat with the backstage crew as if they were casually spending time with friends. In between pieces, some choose to walk off stage for a moment to collect themselves or allow for a set change. We find in these moments we see the most intensity. Looking at their faces as they are about to return to the stage to perform their next selection, we see the countless hours of practice and musical decision making in action. We completely understand both perspectives and enjoy getting to know the competitors on this level. 

Once they have completed their performance, they have a few moments backstage where they can chat with the Backstage Moms before they meet their host families back at their warmup rooms. Again, some competitors stay to chat while others quickly make their exit. Both are fine and completely understandable. We just enjoy getting a small glimpse into the personalities of these phenomenal artists.

Be sure to tune in for the coverage of Day Six and the Quarter Finals! As always, we are active on Facebook, Instagram, and are live tweeting during every performance on Twitter! Semi Final results are announced at the conclusion of this round!

Join the #Cliburn2017 club

Get exclusive information, news and updates... Subscribe to the #Cliburn2017 newsletter!

The 2017 Cliburn webcast is presented by:

  • The Cliburn logo
  • logo