International piano competition hosted by UNT professor draws talented students

Thursday, September 13, 2007

DENTON (UNT), Texas - Piano prodigies will gather in Dallas Sept. 14 - 16 (Friday - Sunday) for the prestigious Viardo International Piano Competition, presented by Vladimir Viardo, University of North Texas professor of music and artist-in-residence.

The annual competition, now in its third year, is being held in Dallas for the first time. The public is invited to hear the competition Sept. 14 - 16 (Friday - Sunday) - including the Concert of Finalists with the Plano Symphony Orchestra. Contestants from Canada, China, Italy, Japan, Korea, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Ukraine and the United States will be vying for cash prizes of up to $4,000.

"Besides allowing talented performers to share their music with an audience, this competition awards prizes that will help winners continue their music education and continue future performances," Viardo said. "This helps relieve their economic burden, allowing them to focus on their musical creativity. In addition, this is an important chance for them to draw the attention of professional managers and sponsors, which may lead to a major turning point in their lives."

On Sept. 14, the semi-final round for junior and senior categories will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. The semi-final round for the senior category and final round for the junior category will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Sept. 15.

All performances on Sept. 14 and 15 are free and will be held at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, 9800 Preston Road in Dallas.

The Concert of Finalists - the final round of the senior category - will be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 16 (Sunday) with the Plano Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Hector Guzman, at Countrywide Theatre, Eisemann Center, 2351 Performance Drive in Richardson. Tickets are $15-$25 ($5 off for students and seniors). For ticket information, call (972) 744-4650 or visit

The senior category is open to pianists age 18 and older; the junior category is open to pianists ages 12 through 17. In the senior category, the first-prize winner will receive $4,000; second prize will receive $2,000; and third prize will receive $1,000. In the junior category, the first-prize winner will receive $1,000; second prize will receive $500; and third prize will receive $250.

Participants in the senior category of the semi-final round are: Anna Polishcuk of Ukraine, Lixia Li of China, SungHa Lee of Korea, Hye-Yeon Park of Korea, Benjamin Boren of the United States, Jae-Hyuck Cho of the United States/Korea, Dmitri Levkovich of Canada/Ukraine, DiZhou Zhao of China, Susan Chou of the United States/Taiwan, Alesei Takenouch of the United States/Japan, Polina Bespalko of Russia, Sun-A Park of the United States/Korea, Soo-Hyun Cho of Southern Methodist University in Dallas and Tommaso Cogato of SMU. All are studying in the United States now.

In the junior category, semi-final contestants are: Abigail Sin of Singapore, Xuan Amy Zhang of China, Jeffery Ou of Plano, Yang Su of Plano, Laura Spector of Plano, Yue-Bing Lin of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.

Viardo, for whom the competition is named, was born in the Caucasus Mountains near the Black Sea. He first achieved international acclaim as a 21-year-old when he won the "Grand-Prix" and "Prix du Prince Rainier" in the 1971 Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition in Paris.

In 1973, he clinched the top prize in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. He became a virtual prisoner of the Iron Curtain for about 13 years when his travel visa was revoked. During the era of glasnost and perestroika in the Soviet Union, he was allowed to perform in Germany and the United States. In 1989, he joined UNT as artist-in-residence. UNT offers the Viardo Fellows Scholarship to help provide financial assistance for his students.

Viardo has performed with several of the world's most famed conductors and has appeared in Asia, Canada, Europe, South Africa, the United States and Central and South America. Students from around the world attend UNT to study with Viardo, who is listed in the book, "The Most Wanted Piano Teachers in the U.S.A." Baldwin Piano is the official piano that will be used in the competition.

For more information about the competition, visit

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