Student Pianists from CSU Invited to Audition for Van Cliburn Competition

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University students Tatiana Muzanova and Tzu-Yi Chen have been invited to audition for one of the music world’s most prestigious competitions, the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

 Both are Schwob School of Music graduate students of Alexander Kobrin, CSU’s L. Rexford Whiddon Distinguished Chair in Piano. The students will perform their Van Cliburn competition program in the RiverCenter’s Legacy Hall at 6 p.m. (Chen) and 7:30 p.m. (Muzanova) on Thursday, Feb. 7.

As aspiring Van Cliburn competition participants, Muzanova and Chen will be among 133 pianists worldwide performing 40-minute recitals before live audiences and a five-member screening jury. The globetrotting jury is hearing screening auditions throughout January and February in Hong Kong, Hannover (Germany), Moscow, Milan, New York City and Fort Worth.

CSU’s competitors will perform in Fort Worth, home of the competition and its 78-year-old namesake, who achieved worldwide recognition when, at age 23, he won the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow in 1958, at the height of the Cold War.

 “I’m nervous but more excited than nervous — nervous in a good way,” CSU’s Muzanova said. “As I understand, it will be like a recital with an audience, so I hope that they like it no matter what the result is. Of course, I would like to pass (to the next round), but I think the most important thing is that people enjoy the performance and experience what I am expressing.”

 Since its inception in 1962, the quadrennial Cliburn competition has launched the careers of many well-known concert pianists, including Barry Douglas, Olga Kern, Radu Lupu and the Schwob School of Music’s own Kobrin.

 Kobrin, a Van Cliburn Gold Medalist in 2005, was among four winners invited to perform in September at a 50th anniversary celebration of the competition. The Fort Worth concert was considered historic because it included a rare appearance by Van Cliburn, who’s been described as frail and gravely ill since it was announced earlier in 2012 that he was suffering from advanced bone cancer.

 The auditions will be streamed live at, allowing anyone with Internet access to watch Chen’s performance on Feb. 20 and Muzanova’s performance on Feb. 21. The results, which will name 30 pianists who will perform again in hopes of winning the competition’s gold medal, will be announced March 5, also on the Cliburn website. Those 30 competitors will perform in a series of concerts from May 22 until the awards ceremony on June 9

CSU's Schwob School of Music is located in the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, part of CSU's RiverPark campus on the banks of the Chattahoochee River in downtown Columbus, anchored by incomparable performing arts facilities. The school attracts students from around the world to a college experience that is deeply personal and relevant. A unique partnership between the public and private sectors provides generous scholarship support for talented and deserving students.

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