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Six Finalists Chosen in Cliburn Competition

By BJ Austin, KERA reporter

Fort Worth, TX – Six pianists have now advanced to the finals in the Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth. One is among the youngest finalists ever. Another is blind. KERA's Bill Zeeble reports.

Four of the 6 are Asian. One is Bulgarian, the other from Italy. Haochen Zhang, from China, is 18 but turns 19 on Wednesday. That's the official age to be a Cliburn competitor. Zhang says he and the others face big challenges in the days ahead.

Zhang: You're going to play 3 concerts, 3 different concerts, in 3 or 4 days. If you do not do well in the beginning, you cannot give up. You have to overcome.

Zhang says the mental challenges are tougher than the physical ones. Another finalist, 20 year old Nobuyuke Tsujii, of Japan, is blind. All 6 are competing for 3 top prizes of 20 thousand dollars each, 3 years of professional management, and American and international bookings. Bill Zeeble KERA news.

The six finalists of the 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition are: Evgeni Bozhanov, Di Wu, Haochen Zhang, Nobuyuki Tsujii, Yeol Eum Son, Mariangela Vacatello. For more information, go to