Sean Chen '14AD has been awarded Third Prize (Crystal Award) in the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.
In the final round, he played two concertos with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Leonard Slatkin: Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5, "The Emperor," and Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor.
The competition's blog said, "Sean Chen gave an enthralling account of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5, "The Emperor." He was particularly effective in creating a hushed, reverential tone during the quietest moments of the first movement, and he was always sensitive to the interplay between piano and orchestra." In the slow movement, "Chen conveyed the almost vocal beauties of the melody admirably, and he imbued the rousing rhythms of the last movement with all the militant swagger they demand."
The second- and third-prize winners both receive $20,000 and a live recording of their competition performances on Harmonia Mundi.
People around the world watched the Cliburn's performances online. During the entire contest, the Cliburn's webcast had approximately half a million page views.
The Times Online noted that Chen "thinks social media and education will help keep younger audiences interested in classical music." The post quoted Chen as saying, "A lot of my friends who were not in music watched the Cliburn ... and it's because they had me as a friend and I exposed them to it. People don't hate classical music; they're never introduced to it. So education and encouraging the study of it [will help]."
Chen is studying with Hung-Kuan Chen in the Artist Diploma program at the Yale School of Music.