UMKC pianist shares prize at Cliburn competition

— A pianist studying at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a pianist from Russia won the 11th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition on Sunday, the first time in contest history that two gold medals have been awarded.

Olga Kern, 26, of Russia and Stanislav Ioudenitch, 29, of Uzbekistan, shared the gold medal. Ioudenitch is pursuing a doctorate at the University of Missouri.

Each will get $20,000, a recording contract and two years of concert management by the Van Cliburn Foundation.

Lucky enough to watch the world-renowned competition were two Kansas University officials.

"I was just knocked over with the playing," said Toni-Marie Montgomery, dean of the School of Fine Arts, herself a pianist. Montgomery, who has been working on establishing a collaboration program with UMKC's conservatory, is holding out hope of bringing the two winners to KU during the 2002-03 performance season.

Diana Carlin, dean of the KU graduate school, was in Dallas as vice chair for the president's advisory committee of the arts at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

"It was four days of just sublime music," she said.

The competition was judged by an international panel of prominent pianists, teachers, music-company executives and administrators who listened to all performances, from the screening recitals through the contest finals.

For the Cliburn's final round, Kern played Mozart's "Piano Concerto No. 27 in B-flat major, K. 595" and Rachmaninoff's "Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30."

For the final round of the Cliburn competition, he played Mozart's "Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467" and Tchaikovsky's "Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23."

The Cliburn contest started in 1962, was held in 1966, 1969 and has continued every four years since then. A group of Fort Worth music teachers created the contest to honor longtime resident Van Cliburn, who won the first Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow in 1958.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.