The Gilmore Blog
Published June 23, 2017
2016 Gilmore Young Artist Daniel Hsu took third prize this June at the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition (#Cliburn2017). Along with the bronze medal, he was also awarded best performance of chamber music and best performance of a new work, which was written by Marc AndrĂ© Hamelin, who performed on The Gilmoreâ€™s 2016-17 Piano Masters Series. We had the opportunity to talk with Hsu about his recent experiences and want to share a bit more about this 19-year-old wunderkind.
â€śI donâ€™t have much of a strategy. Everyone here has something different to say, and my strategy… is to go on stage and make music, be sincere, and play my heart out.”
In an interview with Peter Dobrin from Philly.com about The Cliburn Competition, Hsu said, â€śI donâ€™t have much of a strategy. Everyone here has something different to say, and my strategyâ€¦ is to go on stage and make music, be sincere, and play my heart out.â€ť His strategy seems to have worked. With headlines such as, â€śAt 19, Philly piano student is crushing the Van Cliburn competition,â€ť Daniel Hsu stirred a great deal of positive attention toward himself all while maintaining an air of candid charm as seen in the video below:
“I had followed The Cliburn and watched documentaries of the competition as a kid, so getting to perform in it was a dream come true!”
Hsu was the youngest competitor this year and said, â€śThe highlight of The Cliburn for me was walking out onto the stage of Bass Performance Hall for the first time. I had followed The Cliburn and watched documentaries of the competition as a kid, so getting to perform in it (especially at Bass Performance Hall) was a dream come true!â€ť Having studied piano since he was 6, Hsu has already been awarded some of the most preeminent awards in the musical world and continues to develop into a fine musician, which was exemplified during his Cliburn performances:
According to the Star-Telegram, Hsu thanks his older brother, Andrew Hsu, who was a 2014 Gilmore Young Artist and performed on The Gilmore’s 2015-16 Rising Stars Series, for helping him advance to the finals. Daniel Hsu played two of his brotherâ€™s cadenzas during the Mozart concerto and joked that â€śItâ€™s because of his cadenzas [I advanced].â€ť During the finals, Hsu closed the competition with Tchaikovskyâ€™s Piano Concerto No. 1, remarking that, â€śItâ€™s Van Cliburnâ€™s trademark. I have to. Itâ€™s the cheesiest answer, but I have to. I canâ€™t not play it.â€ť
When asked about the experience overall, Hsu said that is was â€śmemorable, intense, and just a little bit of fun.â€ť With a strict schedule, The Cliburn kept its â€ścompetitors constantly performing or rehearsing or practicing – no rest!â€ť Still, Hsu felt that Fort Worth, Texas was warm and friendly, and said â€śyou could feel the excitement and anxiety for the competition throughout the whole town.â€ť There wasnâ€™t a restaurant he could enter without everyone knowing exactly what was happening in Bass Hall.
We look forward to keeping an eye on this talented young man and hope you will as well. Here he is performing Schubertâ€™s Four Impromptus Op. 90, D. 899, No. 2 in E flat major (Allegro) during The Cliburn semifinal round:
For more information about the #Cliburn2017 competition, visit the Cliburn.org and medici.tv, who partnered this year to stream the entire competition live, inviting 2016 Gilmore Festival artists, Anderson and Roe, as hosts.