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Cliburn Winner's Daughters Killed In Benbrook; Pianist Is Not A Suspect, Police Say

Carolyn Cruz
The Cliburn
Cliburn Competition winner Yadym Kholodenko played with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in 2013.

Police say the two daughters of an award-winning concert pianist have been found slain in their North Texas home and the musician's estranged wife is being treated for stab wounds.

Police say the pianist, Vadym Kholodenko, is not a suspect. 

Benbrook police Cmdr. David Babcock said Friday that Kholodenko is cooperating with investigators and that no one has been arrested in the deaths of 5-year-old Nika and 1-year-old Michaela.

Babcock says the wife, Sofya Tsygankova, is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries. She faces a mental health evaluation.

Police say Kholodenko arrived at his estranged wife's home Thursday morning to pick up their daughters and found the girls dead in their beds. Babcock says he found his wife in an "extreme state of distress." Kholodenko called 911.

Police declined to say how Tsygankova sustained the knife wounds. Officers are not searching for a suspect in the wounding or the two deaths.

Court records show the couple married in 2010 and filed for divorce in November.

The Ukranian-born Kholodenko won the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth.

Kholodenko had been scheduled to perform as a soloist with the Fort Worth Symphony on Friday and through the weekend. The symphony announced Friday morning that Kholodenko wouldn’t be performing.

Here’s what Kholodenko told KERA in 2013 after he won the Cliburn competition:

Kholodenko was more than happy to win the top prize of  $50,000. But he said the rankings don’t mean that much. “It’s kind of fun for the audience,  for the press," he said. "It’s interesting to put ‘first,’ ‘second,’  ‘10th,’  but in life, not so important.” So much of life involves competing no matter what you’re doing, he added. 

Watch Kholodenko perform: