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Van Cliburn Medalist to Perform with UW Symphony May 2

April 24, 2019
man playing a concert piano
Van Cliburn International Piano Competition bronze medal winner Daniel Hsu will perform with the UW Symphony Orchestra Thursday, May 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts concert hall. (Carolyn Cruz Photo)

Three years ago, then 19-year-old pianist Daniel Hsu was at the University of Wyoming playing Mozart’s “Elvira Madigan Concerto” with the UW Symphony Orchestra (UWSO). Nine months later, Hsu won the bronze medal in the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

UWSO Music Director Michael Griffith immediately worked to bring Hsu back to the UW campus to perform. The UWSO will perform with the young pianist Thursday, May 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts concert hall. He also is the UW Presents performer Friday, May 3, at 7:30 p.m. in the concert hall.

Tickets for the UWSO performance cost $12 for the public, $8 for senior citizens and $6 for students. Tickets are available at the Performing Arts box office and the Wyoming Union information desk, by calling (307) 766-6666 or going online at

Hsu’s repertoire is the Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto.

“It’s one of the most popular of all piano solo works, and it’s utterly different from the Mozart Hsu did last time,” Griffith says. “It’s truly one of the great Romantic piano concertos. This was the concerto Van Cliburn played when he won the 1958 Tchaikovsky international piano competition, bringing the whole process full circle.”

Mendelssohn’s music for Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will be the major orchestral work of the UW concert. Other movements the UWSO is performing are the Scherzo, the Nocturne and the song “You Spotted Snakes.” Singers from UW’s Bel Canto women’s choir, with soloists Caroline Nardino and Brittany LaPalme, will be the chorus for Shakespeare’s song.

Anne Mason will read some of Shakespeare’s lines before and after the musical excerpts. Mason is a professional actor, the founder and producing artistic director of Relative Theatrics, and a graduate of the UW Department of Theatre and Dance.

The concert will begin with John Adams’ “Tromba Lontata,” a four-minute piece commissioned by the Houston Symphony in 1986.

“It’s the first minimalist work the orchestra has ever done. It’s tonal and completely mesmerizing,” Griffith says.

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