Rachel Cheung ’13MM reaches finals, wins Audience Award at Van Cliburn Competition

Rachel Cheung performs with Leonard Slatkin and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in the final round of the Van Cliburn Competition. Photo by Ralph Lauer/The Cliburn

School of Music alumna Rachel Cheung ’13MM was one of six finalists at the Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, which took place May 25 through June 10 in Fort Worth, Texas. She took home $12,500 in cash prizes — $10,000 for reaching the final round and $2,500 for earning the Audience Award. As a finalist, Cheung also received a promotional package, which includes photos, additional marketing materials, and media training.

In the course of the competition in Fort Worth, Cheung, who studied at YSM with Peter Frankl, performed three different recital programs, a piano quintet with the Brentano String Quartet — YSM’s quartet-in-residence — and two concerti.

YSM alumna Sun-A Park ’16AD ’17MMA, who studied at YSM with Boris Berman, also participated in the prestigious competition, performing a recital in the preliminary round and taking home a $1,000 cash prize.

Of the 290 pianists who applied, 140 were selected for live auditions. Cheung auditioned in Seoul, in January, and Park auditioned in New York, in February. Only 30 pianists, including Cheung and Park, were invited to compete in Fort Worth.

Sun-A Park performs during the preliminary round of the Van Cliburn Competition. Photo by Ralph Lauer/The Cliburn

According to its website, the Van Cliburn Competition, which is held every four years, is widely recognized as “one of the world’s highest-visibility classical-music contests” and has been responsible for launching the careers of some of the world’s most prominent pianists.

Related:
PIANISTS SUN-A PARK AND RACHEL CHEUNG TO PARTICIPATE IN VAN CLIBURN COMPETITION

Published June 12, 2017
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YSM welcomes two artist diploma candidates to prestigious program

Sirena Huang, left, and Szymon Nehring

In the fall, the Yale School of Music will welcome two new artist diploma candidates to the program. Violinist Sirena Huang, who is currently enrolled in YSM’s master of music program, will now pursue an artist diploma. Pianist Szymon Nehring will enter the AD program having previously studied at the Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Huang and Nehring will join pianist Vyacheslav Gryaznov in the program, whose curriculum was revised in 2014 to serve instrumentalists and vocalists who are on the cusp of major international solo careers.

“The artist diploma is our highest performance degree,” YSM Deputy Dean Melvin Chen said. “The two entering the program in the fall exemplify the type of artist diploma candidate we are looking for — bright, inquisitive, and unique artists who are gaining recognition through top prizes in major international competitions.”

Huang, who studies with Hyo Kang, recently won the New York Concert Artists Worldwide Debut Audition for Violinists and the inaugural Elmar Oliveira International Violin Competition. Earlier this month, Nehring won the 15th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition. He will study with Boris Berman at YSM. MORE

Published May 17, 2017
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Szymon Nehring wins Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition

Szymon Nehring. Photo by Piotr Markowski

Incoming YSM artist diploma candidate Szymon Nehring was named the first prize-winner of the 15th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel Aviv, Israel. In addition to winning the Arthur Rubinstein Award (Gold Medal), Nehring won the Best Performer of a Chopin Piece, Advanced Studies, and Junior Jury prizes, as well as the Audience Favorite in the Periphery prizes for Or Yehuda and Jezrael Valley. In addition to earning $49,000 in cash awards, Nehring will perform numerous recitals as part of a concert tour organized by the Arthur Rubinstein International Music Society, which administers the competition. One of those performances, on October 26, will take place in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. MORE

Published May 16, 2017
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Pianists Sun-A Park and Rachel Cheung to participate in Van Cliburn Competition

Sun-A Park

Pianists Sun-A Park ’16AD ’17MMA and Rachel Cheung ’13MM have been selected to compete in the 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Park and Cheung are two of 30 young pianists, selected from a pool of more than 120 applicants, who were invited to the competition based on auditions held earlier this year.

The competition, which takes place May 25-June 10 in Fort Worth, Texas, consists of four rounds and requires candidates to prepare about four hours of music.

“It’s a huge preparation process,” Park said. “I have to play three solo recital programs, one chamber music (program), and two concerti. I am practicing and playing for friends, teachers, and running it through in other concert venues.” Park has been studying with YSM faculty pianist Boris Berman.

Rachel Cheung

According to its website, the Van Cliburn Competition is widely recognized as “one of the world’s highest-visibility classical-music contests” and has been responsible for launching the careers of some of the world’s most prominent pianists. In addition to cash prizes, winners receive three years of career management, multiple concert engagements, and extensive media coverage. The competition is held every four years.

Park and Cheung have each participated in many competitions and agree that their respective preparation and practice routines have evolved with each one.

“I have done quite a number of competitions prior to the Cliburn,” Cheung said, “and I would say that each competition has given me something different but important to learn. I understand my strengths and weaknesses more clearly after each competition, and I know what to work on to improve.” While at YSM, Cheung studied with Peter Frankl.

“My first international competition was when I was 12,” Park said. “My preparation changed as the repertoire grew bigger. Now I practice in cycles of days to make sure I can cover all the repertoire I am playing. I try to eliminate any kind of distraction and really focus on practicing. I don’t know if there is a ‘strategy,’ just honest practicing, slowly, to process it in my brain, and most of all not getting sick or too stressed!”

Live performances from the competition will be broadcast on YouTube as well as in select movie theaters. Visit cliburn.org for more information. 

Published May 11, 2017
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YSM pianists participate in Rubinstein Competition

Yevgeny Yontov. Photo by Grace Song

Two YSM students are competing at the 15th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, in Tel Aviv, Israel. Pianist Yevgeny Yontov ’14MM, who’s currently a DMA candidate studying with Boris Berman, is scheduled to perform a first-round recital of works by Haydn and Debussy on Saturday, April 29. And pianist Szymon Nehring, an incoming artist diploma candidate who’ll also be studying with Prof. Berman, is slated to perform an opening-round program of music by Scarlatti, Beethoven, and Szymanowski on Sunday, April 30.

The competition’s second and final rounds are scheduled to take place in the first week and a half of May and require each of those who advance to present a recital program of different pieces than they performed in the first round, along with chamber music and concertos. Thirty-one competitors are vying for medals, cash prizes, the chance to perform a string of concerts in Israel, Europe, Asia, and North America, and recording opportunities. The competition is a program of the Arthur Rubinstein International Music Society. MORE

Published April 28, 2017
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[ students & alumni ]

Vadim Serebryany to join Ithaca College faculty

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Vadim Serebryany

Vadim Serebryany ’00 MMA ’06 DMA has been appointed Assistant Professor of Piano in the School of Music at Ithaca College. Serebryany will join fellow YSM alumnus and pianist Dmitry Novgorodsky, who joined Ithaca’s faculty in April 2015. MORE

Published March 12, 2016
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[ concerts ]

Peter Oundjian conducts the Yale Philharmonia Apr. 1

peter_oundjian_conducting

Peter Oundjian

The Yale School of Music presents the Yale Philharmonia with conductor Peter Oundjian on Friday, April 1 at 7:30 pm. Oundjian returns to Yale for the first time since October to conduct a program featuring two of Russia’s most celebrated composers: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Dmitri Shostakovich.

Sun-A Park, a winner of the 2015 Woolsey Hall Concerto Competition, will be the featured soloist in Tchaikovsky‘s Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor. The concerto’s memorable melodies and integrated folk tunes made it an instant success in its day, and it remains one of the most beloved piano concertos in the repertoire today.

Sun-A Park

Sun-A Park

Shostakovich‘s Symphony No. 8 in C minor came on the heels of his triumphant “Leningrad” Symphony, which served as an important piece of patriotic, morale-boosting art in the early 1940s.  MORE

Published March 8, 2016
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[ faculty ]

Wei-Yi Yang and Sarita Kwok release a new duo album on Genuin

interchangePiano faculty member Wei-Yi Yang ’95 MM, ’96 AD, ’99 MMA, ’04 DMA and violinist Sarita Kwok ’05 MMA, ’06 AD, ’09 DMA have released their first album together on the German record label Genuin.

The recording, titled Interchange: Violin and Piano Duos of the 20th Century, features works by Janacek, Prokofiev, Ravel, and Stravinsky. The album was released on Jan. 29, 2016, and is described as:

“a balancing act that both young musicians pull off splendidly, connecting long musical lines and palpably enjoying relentless rhythmic repetitions. They provide for moments of stillness as well as veritable fireworks. So it comes as no surprise that both musicians have drawn international acclaim – competition juries and the press have not stopped singing their praises! We experience first-hand the moment the lights go out and the musicians intone the first notes of Ravel’s seductive blues…”

ALBUM WEBSITE

Published February 29, 2016
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[ concerts ]

Pianist Wai-Yin Wong presents music by Brahms, Haydn, and Schumann Feb. 3

Wai Yin WongPianist Wai-Yin Wong, a student in the Yale School of Music’s recently revised and highly selective Artist Diploma program, will give her degree recital on Wednesday, February 3 at 7:30 pm. Wong’s program features three major works for piano from Brahms, Haydn, and Schumann.

The recital begins with Haydn‘s elegant three-movement Sonata in C major, Hob. XVI:50, originally written for and dedicated to Therese Jansen Bartolozzi in 1794. The program continues with one of Brahms‘s best-loved and most popular late piano pieces, the Three Intermezzi, Op. 117. MORE

Published January 28, 2016
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[ faculty ]

Pianist Peter Frankl celebrates his 80th birthday with two concerts this season

Peter Frankl, piano

Peter Frankl, piano

Happy birthday to pianist and YSM faculty member Peter Frankl, who turns 80 today. He’s celebrating this season with two concerts, one on October 21 and one on February 6.

The concert on Wednesday, October 21 features Frankl playing music for two pianos and for piano four hands with his colleagues on the Yale piano faculty. The program, which is part of the Horowitz Piano Series, includes music from Mozart to Brahms to Frankl’s Hungarian compatriot Béla Bartók.

Frankl will perform Mozart’s Sonata in D major for two pianos, with Robert Blocker; Schubert’s Rondo in A major, with Michael Friedmann; Brahms’ Sixteen Waltzes, with Boris Berman; Mozart’s Variations in G major, with Melvin Chen; Schubert’s Lebensturme, with Wei-Yi Yang; and selections from Bartók’s Mikrokosmos, with Hung-Kuan Chen. MORE

Published October 2, 2015
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