Four years ago I listened to the Van Cliburn competition online, and wrote a post about Haochen Zhang, the young Chinese pianist who eventually shared the gold medal. In this year’s Van Cliburn my favorite pianist was the 20 year-old Russian Nikolay Khozyainov. He is an exceptional musician. As with Zhang, there is a kind of transparency to his playing. Here is his first recital — with an amazing Gaspard — from the preliminary round:
Hayden Sonata in D Major, Hob. XVI:33
Chopin, Étude in C Major, op. 10, no. 1
Liszt, Transcendental Étude No. 5: Feux follets
Scriabin, Étude in C-sharp Minor, op. 42, no. 5
Ravel, Gaspard de la nuit
This year there were many wonderful young pianists at the Van Cliburn; their performances, except for a few of the final concertos, are archived here. In particular, Vadym Khodolenko, Beatrice Rana, and Sean Chen clearly earned the recognition they received. But I would like to have heard more of Nikolay Khozyainov.