Six pianists advance to the final round of the 16th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, after the field was cut in half from 12 on Sunday night.

Marin Alsop, the jury chair said it was a pleasure and privilege to get to know each of the performers before announcing the finalists in random order:

Ilya Shmukler, Russia, 27
Uladzislau Khandohi, Belarus, 20
Clayton Stephenson, United States, 23
Anna Geniushene, Russia, 31
Dmytro Choni, Ukraine, 28
Yunchan Lim, South Korea, 18

Some of the audience who had ventured to Bass Hall for the final two performances this round filtered out as the jury was deliberating, but a dedicated group gathered on the main level to hear the announcement.

Katie Arnold was able to attend some performances in person this weekend, and had been following the webcast before that.

“I thought they were wonderful. I was very impressed with both of the competitors (who performed Sunday night: Jinhyung Park and Anna Geniushene),” Arnold said. “And they both had such, like, range and variety. Their personalities showed in those pieces. They were so different and both so great.” 

After Geniushene performed, she was awarded with a long standing ovation during which an audience member leaned over to their neighbor and said, “I’d be surprised if she didn’t make it.”

Before the announcement but after his last solo recital in Fort Worth, Park said he was anxious to get the results but hid his nerves well. 

I feel really free,” Park explained. “Even if I do not go to the next round, I’m really satisfied with this result. It is quite a huge achievement to get in the semifinal round in the Van Cliburn Competition.”

On the other side of Bass Hall, Caroline Cubillos also praised both Geniushene and Park’s performances. 

“They’re both great pianists. And the Beethoven (piece) was refreshing,” Cubillos said. “Like, the moment she (Geniushene) sat down, it was, like, a completely different sound. The guy before her, (Park performed) ‘Fantasiestücke’ — I have never heard the piece that way. It’s just the best of the best and great playing.” 

Standing next to her was Moegi Amano, who mentioned that she was a fan of Masaya Kamei

I’ve been keeping up with him since the prelims and I just enjoy his playing. It’s really… well, everyone’s polished, but he’s very great. And just his energy, it’s very intense,” Amano said. “Everything (he) plays is different and very unique in its own way.” 

Kamei was ultimately cut, but they had other pianists they were excited about who made it through, like Dmytro Choni and Clayton Stephenson. 

Ping Stephenson, Clayton’s mom, was in the audience and was still processing the news after his name was called.

“It’s unreal. We’re so lucky. I can’t believe it,” Stephenson said. “So many people helped him – his teachers – all of them should take credit, too. There’s a big team behind him.” 

Concerts for the final round will begin on June 14. The schedule is as follows:

TUESDAY, JUNE 14, 2022

Final Round Concert 1 – 7:30 p.m. 

Yunchan Lim, South Korea, 18 – BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, op. 37

Ilya Shmukler, Russia, 27 –  RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, op. 30

20-minute intermission

Clayton Stephenson, United States, 23 – GERSHWIN Piano Concerto in F Major


WEDNESDAY, JUNE 15, 2022

Final Round Concert 2 – 7:30 p.m. 

Uladzislau Khandohi, Belarus, 20 – RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, op. 18

Anna Geniushene, Russia, 31 – BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major, op. 15

20-minute intermission

Dmytro Choni, Ukraine, 28 – PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major, op. 26

FRIDAY, JUNE 17, 2022

Final Round Concert 3 – 7:30 p.m. 

Clayton Stephenson, United States, 23 – RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, op. 30

Ilya Shmukler, Russia, 27 – GRIEG Piano Concerto in A Minor, op. 16

20-minute intermission

Yunchan Lim, South Korea, 18 – RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, op. 30

SATURDAY, JUNE 18, 2022

Final Round Concert 4 – 3:00 p.m. 

Dmytro Choni, Ukraine, 28 – BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, op. 37

Uladzislau Khandohi, Belarus, 20 – CHOPIN Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor, op. 11

20-minute intermission

Anna Geniushene, Russia, 31 – TCHAIKOVSKY Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor, op. 23

Awards Ceremony

7:00 p.m.

Jeff King, chairman of the Cliburn board of directors, thanked each of the artists before the announcement for what they brought to the competition.

Before passing the microphone, he left the crowd with a favorite Van Cliburn quote: “If you hold onto the beauty and inspiration and the clarity that is music, you will have an anchor and you will not be swayed.”

King then added, “You have graced us with your presence and we can only hope that we have returned to some portion of that grace to you.

Marcheta Fornoff covers the arts for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at marcheta.fornoff@fortworthreport.org or on Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.



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Marcheta Fornoff

For just over seven years Marcheta Fornoff performed the high wire act of producing a live morning news program on Minnesota Public Radio. She led a small, but nimble team to cover everything from politics...