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 students participate in the Kennedy Center’s Conservatory Project 2012

The Kennedy Center

Once again, graduate musicians from the School of Music will participate in the Conservatory Project at the Kennedy Center. On Saturday, February 25, three pianists will perform on the Millennium Stage.

Joo Hyeon Park ’12 AD will perform selections from Alexander Scriabin’s Preludes, Op. 11, and Nikolai Medtner’s Sonata Tragica in C minor, Op. 39, No. 5. Next, Rachel Cheung ’13 MM will perform Johannes Brahms’s Six Pieces, Op. 118. Esther Park ’13 AD will play Mendelssohn’s Fantasy in F-sharp minor, “Sonate ecossaise,” Op. 28, and two selections from Bartók’s From Out of Doors.

This concert will stream live. Visit THIS PAGE at 6 pm EST on February 25 to watch the performance.

In addition, on March 11 in the Terrace Theater, the Kennedy Center presents a Three Cities Chamber Music Marathon of works from each of the three cities: Quatuor Thymos perform early twentieth-century music; members of the National Symphony Orchestra perform early music; and the third Conservatory Project Chamber Ensemble performs contemporary work as selected and directed by composer Johannes Maria Staud.

Pianist Lee Dionne ’13MM will represent the Yale School of Music in the Conservatory Project Chamber Ensemble, which is made up of a musician from each Conservatory Project school.

The Conservatory Project is an initiative of Performing Arts for Everyone’s Millennium Stage. The semi-annual event is designed to present the best young musical artists in classical, jazz, musical theater, opera, and more from our nation’s leading conservatories, colleges, and universities in performance at the Kennedy Center.

The project creates an ongoing showcase for our nation’s exceptional young talent and introduces Washington audiences to young musicians on their way to having important careers.

Watch past Conservatory Project performances by Yale School of Music students HERE.

Published February 14, 2012
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