Cliburn gold medalist opens ETSO season

Published on Saturday, 20 September 2014 21:06 - Written by BY DANNY MOGLE,

East Texas Symphony Orchestra opens its season on Saturday with a concert featuring pianist Vadym Kholodenko, winner of the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

Named after the late piano genius from Kilgore, the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition widely is considered the most prestigious piano competition in the world.

A native of Ukraine, Kholodenko was a child prodigy and began performing on the international stage at age 13. Over the years, he also has taken first-place honors at the Maria Callas International Competition, Sendai International Music Competition and International Schubert Competition.

Kholodenko lives in Moscow with his wife, and young daughters.

The concert is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday at The University of Texas at Tyler’s Cowan Center performance hall.

Tickets range from $10 to $55 and can be purchased on the website or by calling the box office at 903-566-7424. ETSO season tickets also are still on sale.

The orchestra is under the direction of Richard Lee.

Kholodenko recently took time to answer some questions from the Tyler Paper.

When did it become apparent that you were musically gifted and what did your parents do to nurture your talent?

Kholodenko: I was 6 years old when my mother decided to teach me piano playing. She brought me to music school and since very beginning I liked what I was doing there. My mother never forced me to practice and my musical development was very natural. I’m grateful to all my teachers. 

Tell us about the experience of being in the Van Cliburn competition and competing against the world’s best pianists.

Kholodenko: It was exciting and remarkable experience. Competition was organized on the unprecedented level. I’m very grateful to my host family who supported me during and after competition.

Of course, competition process itself is not as pleasant as one could imagine, but winning the prize (not even the 1st) on such important competition opens new perspective. I’m very proud to be part of Cliburn competition.

Tell us more about the music you will be performing with ETSO and what it mean to you.

Kholodenko: I will play Rachmaninoff 3rd concerto (“Piano Concert No. 3”). Speaking of connection with Van Cliburn this is very important work. He played in the Tchaikovsky competition this concerto and we all know this outstanding recording. Despite its enormous popularity, I always feel freshness in this work.

The concerto was written by mature composer and one of the greatest pianist ever and I always feel pleasure when playing this work.

In conclusion, what are your future aspirations?

Kholodenko: My aspirations remain the same — music and my daughters.