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.
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.