In their first year serving as a host family for the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Jeff and Rosemary Detweiler got lucky: They were matched with Yunchan Lim.

They had a front-row seat to the meteoric rise of the Korean pianist as he won gold and, at age 18, became the youngest winner in the competition’s 60-year history. On Oct. 26, Cliburn fans will have the opportunity to sit with the host family at the North American debut of the competition documentary, “Crescendo.”

“When they’re presenting the medals, it was just this gigantic explosion of emotions,” Jeff Detweiler said. “When you see the documentary, you’ll see Rosemary and I, we really kind of lost it … it was super exciting.” 

If you go

What: North American premiere of 2022 Cliburn Competition documentary “Crescendo”
7 p.m. Oct. 26
Van Cliburn Concert Hall at Texas Christian University
            2900 W. Lowden St.
            Fort Worth
Tickets are free but required for admission. Reserve yours here. 

The competition is akin to the Olympics for pianists, Cliburn CEO Jacques Marquis previously told the Report. Nearly 400 musicians from 51 countries applied, but only 72 advanced to the screening auditions in Fort Worth.

Thirty musicians were invited back to Texas for the competition, and those who did advance faced a packed schedule of concerts, events and hours of practice.

The Detweilers were impressed by Lim’s ability to focus, regularly practicing from around 1 or 2 in the afternoon until about 4 in the morning.

“He’s really totally devoted to the music. He doesn’t have a massive ego that needs to be massaged. He is very humble and practices really, really hard,” Jeff said. “He just goes and goes.” 

YouTube video

Beyond the pressures inside the competition, life carried on. Third place winner Dmytro Choni’s home country of Ukraine remained under attack, second-place winner Anna Geniushene had one baby at home and another on the way — “Crescendo” explores those complexities too.

The Detweilers are looking forward to returning to Texas Christian University’s Van Cliburn Concert Hall once again to attend the premiere.

Though it’s been more than a year since Lim’s win, the family remains in touch. They have traveled to Paris and New York for his concerts and have plans to attend more. 

“It was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my whole life,” Rosemary Detweiler said. “It was a lot of work, but it was fantastic.”

Marcheta Fornoff covers the arts for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at 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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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...