Friday, April 16


Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +


Fort Worth, TexasThe Van Cliburn Foundation announced today that Nobuyuki Tsujii and Haochen Zhang, co-gold medalists of the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, have each signed with professional artist management firms. Effective immediately, Mr. Tsujii’s engagements will be managed by IMG Artists, except in Japan where Avex Classics International will continue to manage his appearances. Mr. Zhang will be managed by KAJIMOTO with representation by Opus 3 Artists in North and South America.

This advancement to professional management represents a realization of one of the Cliburn’s key goals—to nurture and launch the careers of its competition winners. Since its inception, the Foundation has remained committed to furthering the careers of these outstanding musicians by offering a prize package that includes not only a generous cash award but also three years of commission-free artist management services, thereby gaining worldwide visibility and recognition for its winners.

Cliburn Interim President and CEO Alann Bedford Sampson said: “We are so proud of Nobu and Haochen. This represents the next step in the development of meaningful, longterm careers. Their success is a testament to their artistry and dedication, and to the wisdom of the Cliburn jury.”


Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii—affectionately referred to as Nobu by his friends and fans—captured the hearts and imaginations of music lovers the world over with his gold medal-winning performances at the Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2009. The resulting audience fervor has taken on a momentum that Time Magazinehas coined “Nobu fever.”

Acclaimed for his heartfelt and inspiring performances, Nobu is also noted for what the Chicago Tribune praised as “fearless technical assurance, accuracy, and musicality…suppleness of line and lyrical grace.” In high demand by presenters and orchestras worldwide, he consistently plays sold-out concerts around the world and has catapulted to rock star status in Japan. In 2011–2012, season highlights include his solo recital debut at Carnegie Hall as part of its prestigious Keyboard Virtuosos series and his debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy. Other appearances will take him across the United States and Japan, as well as to Antalya, Istanbul, Basel, Munich, and Berlin. He will also perform in concert with the Poznan Philharmonic, the Orchestra Regional de Cannes, and the BBC Philharmonic in a return engagement at Bridgewater Hall.

Since 2009, he has made over 100 appearances in North America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, appearing in recital at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. under the auspices of the Washington Performing Arts Society, Jordan Hall in Boston, the Mondavi Center and UCLA Performing Arts Center with the Takács Quartet, and with the Ravinia Festival, Aspen Summer Music Festival and Academy, CU Artist Series in Boulder, Klavier-Festival Ruhr in Germany, and the Tuscan Sun Festival in Italy. He has appeared with the symphony orchestras of Edmonton, Mississippi, Santa Fe, Corpus Christi, Fort Worth, and Hudson Valley; the Slovak Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, National Philharmonic of Russia, Orchestra de la Svizzera Italiania, National Symphony Orchestra of the Dominican Republic, and Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux; and every major orchestra in Japan.

A documentary detailing his extraordinary achievement as the first-ever gold medalist from Japan in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition was broadcast on NHK television throughout Japan. Peter Rosen’s award-winning documentary of the 2009 Cliburn Competition, A Surprise in Texas, features Nobu prominently and was met with critical acclaim. Harmonia mundi usa released a CD of his Cliburn Competition performances, which was named “Critic’s Choice” by Japan’s foremost recording magazine Record Geijutsu. A second recording of his competition performances was released in July 2010 and was lauded by the Dallas Morning News for “a luminous tone and an utterly natural feeling.” These two CDs join his six bestselling records on the Avex label, including a recording of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23 with the BBC Philharmonic and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18 with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, both conducted by Maestro Yutako Sado. His complete Cliburn Competition performances are available on the Cliburn’s YouTube channel.

Blind since birth, Nobu believes that “there are no barriers in the field of music.” His philosophy was first affirmed at the age of 7 when he was named first-prize winner at the All-Japan Blind Students Music Competition. At the age of 12, he made his recital debut at Suntory Hall in Tokyo. In 2005, at the age of 16, Nobu was presented the Critic’s Award at the Fifteenth International Frédéric Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw.

Mr. Tsujii recently graduated from Ueno Gakuen University, studying under the guidance of Masahiro Kawakami, Yukio Yokoyama, and Kyoko Tabe. He enjoys swimming, skiing, hiking, and communing with nature. He lives in Tokyo.


Since his gold medal win at the Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2009, 21-year-old Chinese pianist Haochen Zhang has captivated audiences in the United States, Europe, and Asia with a unique combination of deep musical sensitivity, fearless imagination, and spectacular virtuosity. His return to Fort Worth as part of the 2010–2011 Cliburn Concerts series was lauded by the Dallas Morning News as “the kind of program you’d expect from a seasoned master, served up with dazzling virtuosity where wanted and astonishing sophistication elsewhere” and hailed among the top 10 performances of 2010 by both the Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram. His Boston debut, under the auspices of the Celebrity Series, met with high praise by audiences and critics, making the year-end lists as part of the Boston Phoenix’s top 10 classical music stories of the year. Boston Globecritic Matthew Guerrieri remarked that Mr. Zhang displayed “poetic temperament as much as technical power…[he is]a pianist with ample reserves of power whose imagination seems nonetheless most kindled by subtle delicacy.”

A passionate and insightful programmer, Mr. Zhang continues to cultivate his reputation through major performances and debuts every year. Highlights of the 2011–2012 season include return engagements with the San Francisco and Fort Worth Symphony Orchestras; performances at the Kravis Center, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and Carmel Center for the Performing Arts; and a tour of Japan in October. He will make his Paris debut with a recital at the Louvre Museum and his Vienna debut with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra in the spring. An enthusiastic chamber musician, Mr. Zhang will perform with the Tokyo String Quartet in a special gala event for the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and with the Shanghai Quartet as part of the Mountain Music Festival in the Berkshires.

In past seasons, he has performed with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Singapore Chinese Symphony, Singapore Symphony, and National Symphony Orchestra of the Dominican Republic. He has traversed the United States for performances with such prestigious series as Spivey Hall, La Jolla Music Society, Celebrity Series of Boston, CU Artist Series, Cliburn Concerts, Krannert Center, Wolf Trap Discovery Series, Lied Center of Kansas, and UVM Lane Series. International tours have taken him to Beijing, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Berlin, Munich, Dresden, Rome, Tivoli, and Belgrade, among other cities.

Mr. Zhang’s Cliburn Competition performances of Stravinsky’s Trois mouvements de Pétrouchka; Chopin’s Twenty-Four Preludes, Op. 28; Mason Bates’s White Lies for Lomax; and Liszt’s Spanish Rhapsody were released to critical acclaim by harmonia mundi usa in 2009. He is also featured in Peter Rosen’s award-winning documentary chronicling the 2009 Cliburn Competition, A Surprise in Texas, which was sold out within two weeks of DVD release and subsequently re-released. His complete competition performances are available on the Cliburn’s YouTube channel.

Mr. Zhang has a wide-ranging intellectual curiosity that is nurtured through his continuing studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia under the guidance of Gary Graffman. He has previously trained at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and the Shenzhen Arts School, where he was admitted in 2001 at the age of 11 to study with Professor Dan Zhaoyi.

A voracious reader with an interest in a variety of subjects, including literature, science, and history, Mr. Zhang also writes poetry and improvises pop music. In his leisure time, he excels at ping pong and snooker. Born in Shanghai, Haochen Zhang now makes his home in Philadelphia.