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.


Published June 12, 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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Andrea Lam ’04AD reaches Van Cliburn semifinals

Andrea LamPianist Andrea Lam ’04AD has been selected as one of the twelve semi-finalists in the 2009 Van Cliburn Competition. On the Van Cliburn Blog, Mike Winter has written: “With breath-taking pianissimos and phrasing, she found colors and depths in the music I never knew existed.” In the semi-final round, pianists perform a one-hour recital as well as a chamber music program with the Takács Quartet. The competition can be viewed live at www.cliburn.tv; Lam will perform with the Takács Quartet on the evening of Saturday, May 30.

Read a Q&A with Lam here, and read some reviews of her performances here, here, and here. MORE

Published May 29, 2009
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Pianists Amy Yang and Andrea Lam to compete in the Cliburn Competition

Andrea Lam

Two pianists from the Yale School of Music, alumna Andrea Lam ’04AD and current Artist Diploma student Amy J. Yang, will be among the thirty competitors in the preliminary round of the upcoming Cliburn Competition.  Lam and Yang were selected from hundreds of recitals to compete in the prestigious event, which will take place in May. Named for the spectacular pianist Van Cliburn, winner of the First Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow (1958), the competition is one of the most prestigious of its kind worldwide. It was first held in 1962 and has been repeated every four years since then. A complete list of the thirty finalists for 2009 is available on the Cliburn Competition’s website. After the Preliminary Round, twelve pianists will compete in the semifinal round; six will vie for top honors in the final round.

Australian pianist Andrea Lam began her musical training at age five, and at thirteen won the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Quest Competition Viewer Choice Award, which led to debuts with the Melbourne and Sydney Symphony Orchestras. Since then she has played with all of Australia’s major orchestras, and has also performed in Hong Kong, Japan, and the United States, collaborating with such conductors as Michael Christie, Edo de Waart, Alan Gilbert, and Christopher Hogwood. A graduate of Yale University and the Manhattan School of Music, she will record two Mozart concertos with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in July 2009.  More information is available at her website: http://www.andrealam.com

Amy YangAmy Jiaqi Yang immigrated to the United States with her family in 1995, settling in Houston. First-prize winner of the Corpus Christi Young Artist’s Competition and the Kosciuszko Foundation’s National Chopin Competition, she has performed throughout the United States and in China, Poland, Switzerland, and Turkey. Ms. Yang is an avid chamber musician and has recently participated in the Marlboro Festival, toured with Musicians from Ravinia, and performed with ensemble for former first lady Laura Bush at the White House. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, a master’s degree from Juilliard, and is currently enrolled at Yale, where she also studies sculpture and classical guitar.  Audio clips are available at Ms. Yang’s MySpace Music site.

Published March 20, 2009
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