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Music Preview: Cliburn medalist Sean Chen will play at Belmont

chen1Piano aficionados won’t want to miss pianist Sean Chen’s concert on Thursday night at Belmont University. In June, Chen won the crystal medal and a $20,000 prize at the 14th quadrennial Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas. Chen impressed judges and audience members alike with his award-winning rendition of Beethoven’s mighty “Hammerklavier” Sonata. He turned to Beethoven again in the final round with this performance of the “Emperor” Piano Concerto (Nashville classical fans will probably recognize the conductor – former Nashville Symphony music adviser Leonard Slatkin). Scott Cantrell, classical critic of the Dallas Morning News, noted that Chen “supplied plenty of flash – and, by common consent, the best hair of the competition.”

A 24-year-old California native who is now pursuing an artist’s diploma at Yale University, Chen has been touring the country with a program featuring the music of Scriabin, Chopin, Ravel and Prokofiev. His concert is part of Belmont University’s Woods Piano Concert Series. The performance takes place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26 at Belmont’s intimate and acoustically marvelous McAfee Concert Hall, 2100 Belmont Blvd. If the music and the venue are not reason enough to attend, consider this – the performance is free.

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About John Pitcher

John Pitcher is the chief classical music, jazz and dance critic as well as co-founder of ArtsNash. He has been a classical music critic for the Washington Post, the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle, National Public Radio’s Performance Today (NPR), ArtNowNashville.com and the Nashville Scene. His writings about music and the arts have also appeared in Symphony Magazine, American Record Guide and Stagebill Magazine, among other publications. Pitcher earned his master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where he studied arts writing with Judith Crist and Phyllis Garland. His work has received the New York State Associated Press award for outstanding classical music criticism.