Ken Iisaka – Cliburn Amateur 2016 Quarterfinal Round Recital

Software engineer
Foster City, California

2016 Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition
Quarterfinal Round – Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Van Cliburn Recital Hall
Fort Worth, Texas, USA

Ken Iisaka, a Cliburn Amateur finalist in 2007 and 2011, says his previous participation was during “the most tumultuous time of my life.” But he views competing as a necessary vehicle for his musical improvement, and for his soul. Born in Tokyo, he immigrated to Canada with his family and took private lessons while studying computer science at the University of Ottawa. In recent years, he has appeared at Fullerton College Piano Ensemble Festival (2014) and at the Newport Music Festival (2015). Most recently, he performed in an ensemble concert in Tokyo with his partner, Yvonne Liu, whom he met at the Amateur Competition in 2011. Currently, he is a lead engineer for a software company whose clients are advertisers and publishers, in Sunnyvale, California. Mr. Iisaka enjoys writing concert reviews, photography, cooking, and wines from Northern California.

MESSIAEN, “La colombe” from Preludes
SCRIABIN, Sonata No. 5, op. 53
MEDTNER, “Danza rustica” from Vergessene Weisen, op. 38

Brianna Donaldson – Cliburn Amateur 2016 Preliminary Round Recital

2016 Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition
Preliminary Round
Van Cliburn Recital Hall

Brianna Donaldson, 35
Nonprofit director
Santa Cruz, California
United States

Brianna Donaldson began private piano lessons in 1988, and by the time she finished high school, her dream was to pursue a career as a piano teacher and performer. An injury during college, however, sidelined that goal, so Dr. Donaldson instead forged a career in cognitive psychology. She received her doctorate from Indiana University in 2008. When her husband’s job necessitated a move to Austin, she began studying under Dr. Betty Mallard at the University of Texas. Under Mallard’s tutelage, she realized: “Despite having a full and wonderful life as a working professional, wife, and mother of two young sons, it is the piano that completes me.” To that end, she says she looks forward to meeting other kindred spirits during the Amateur Competition. An avid reader and outdoorswoman, Dr. Donaldson enjoys spending time with her family and giving community concerts.

MEDTNER, “Phrygian Mode” from Fairy Tales, op. 42
MEDTNER, Two Fairy Tales, op. 20

Alessandro Taverna- Cliburn 2013 Preliminary Recital II

Italy | Age 29

Fourteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
Preliminary Round  Recital II
Bass Performance Hall

MENDELSSOHN Sonata No.3 in B-flat Major, op.106
MEDTNER Sonata in F Minor, op. 53, no.2 (“Sonata minacciosa”)
LIGETI Etude No. 13: L’escalier du diable
MESSIAEN Regard de l’esprit de joie (from Vingt regards sur l’Enfant-Jesus)

Alessandro Taverna has performed throughout Africa, Europe, and North America, in such venues as Rome’s Auditorium Parco della Musica, Fazioli Concert Hall, the Konzerthaus in Berlin, Salle Cortot in Paris, Wigmore Hall in London, and the International Keyboard Institute and Festival in New York. He has also appeared with the Hallé, London Philharmonic, Minnesota, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras. In 2009, Mr. Taverna was chosen by the Keyboard Charitable Trust in London to perform at Steinway Halls in Berlin, London, Hamburg, Munich, and New York, and to open the season of Lorin Maazel’s Châteauville Foundation in Castleton—a performance that led to an invitation to tour with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra during the 2012–2013 season. A native of Venice, Mr. Taverna received his master’s degree from the Accademia Pianistica Internazionale “Incontri col Maestro” in Imola. He currently attends the International Piano Academy Lake Como and the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover.

Georgy Tchaidze – Cliburn 2017 Semifinal Recital

Russia | Age 29

Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
Semifinal Round Recital – Friday, June 2, 2017 – 8:50 p.m.
Bass Performance Hall


SCHUMANN Waldszenen, op. 82
MEDTNER “Alla Reminiszenza” from Forgotten Melodies, op. 38
MUSSORGSKY Pictures at an Exhibition

Georgy Tchaidze was born in St. Petersburg and earned his master’s degree at the Moscow Conservatory. He has won prizes at several competitions, including first at the 2009 Honens International Piano Competition, fourth at the 2016 Cleveland International Piano Competition, and first at the 2015 Top of the World International Piano Competition in Tromsø, Norway. Mr. Tchaidze has performed throughout Europe, North America, and Asia, including at Wigmore Hall in London, Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, Konzerthaus Berlin, Het Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. He performed with Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra under Pinchas Zukerman and with the Cleveland Orchestra with conductor Bramwell Tovey. As a chamber artist, he tours with the Cecilia and Borodin string quartets. Mr. Tchaidze has released three recordings on the Honens label: a live recording with the Cecilia String Quartet, an all-Schubert album, and a disc of works by Medtner, Mussorgsky and Prokofiev. He studies in Berlin, where his other passions include literature, cinema, and nature.