Van Cliburn gold medalist to perform with symphony

Hauchen Zhang, gold medalist of the Van Cliburn piano competition, will perform with the Big Spring Symphony Orchestra in Garrett Hall the evening of Saturday, Feb. 4.The concert was originally scheduled fto be held at the Big Spring Municipal Auditorium, but delays in renovation of the facility forced a change of venue. Garrett Hall is located at First United Methodist Church, at the corner of Scurry and Fourth streets. The concert will begin at 8 p.m. Zhang, of China, is the first gold medalist to perform with the orchestra, according to Dr. Keith Graumann, conductor. “Several Van Cliburn finalists have played in Big Spring, but it is really special to have the gold medalist,” said Graumann. “The Van Cliburn competition ranks right up there with the Tchaikovsky competition in Moscow.”Zhang will play Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Piano Concerto and other selections. Zhang was born in June 1990, in Shanghai. When he was three and a half years old, he began to study the piano. Two years later, he made his debut at the Shanghai Concert Hall.In 1997, at the age of 6, he successfully performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto K.467 with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. From there, Zhang continued to command attention — and win competitions. In 1997 and 1999, he took first prize in the Shanghai Piano Competition. In 2002, at age 12, he participated in his first international piano competition ― The Fourth International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians, and became the youngest champion in the history of that prestigious competition. At 15, he was a winner of the 2006 Albert M.Greenfield Student Competition, organized by the Philadelphia Orchestra. An additional prize was awarded to him for his interpretation of Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto. In June 2009, at 19, he won the gold medal in the Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, the first Asian to win the honor and one of the youngest gold medalists in the history of the competition.In the two years following the Cliburn competition, Zhang has performed in nearly 160 tour recitals in the Americas, Asia and Europe, including solos at such celebrated music festivals as Beijing Music Festival and the Gilmore International Keyboard Music Festival. He has also played almost all the best-known piano concertos with world-renowned symphony orchestras such as San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Krakow Philharmonic and Hong kong Philharmonic.“... “the pianist Zhang is no emulating eccentric. He who plays like this, like Zhang did at the Pro-Musica Concert at the Funkhaus in Hannover, may do anything,” said Stephan Arndt in the Hannoversche Allgemeine. “He is one of those musicians who you only meet once every few years.”Concert tickets are $15 adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for students and are available at Western Banks, Faye’s Flowers, KBST, KBYG, the Big Spring Herald office, Blum’s Jewelers and the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce.Portions of this article were obtained from Zhang’s website at