Here’s how you win a world-class piano contest

Here's how you win a world-class piano contest BY LAWRENCE TOPPMAN   You don’t take the gold medal in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, as Yekwon Sunwoo did last year, without massive musical chops.   But the victor, who comes to Halton Theatre March 1...

So who was Van Cliburn, anyway?

So who was Van Cliburn, anyway? BY LAWRENCE TOPPMAN   Yes, he lent his name to America’s most famous piano competition, one that takes place every four years in his adopted hometown of Fort Worth. Each winner comes to the Queen City via Charlotte Concerts, as 2017...

2017 Cliburn winner: Korean roots, American training, German heart

BY LAWRENCE TOPPMAN   2017 Cliburn winner: Korean roots, American training, German heart   Could Yekwon Sunwoo be more of a citizen of the world? The 29-year-old pianist grew up in Anyang, a South Korean city about three-fourths the size of Charlotte. He studied in...

The greatest songwriters of the 20th century?

The greatest songwriters of the 20th century? BY LAWRENCE TOPPMAN   The greatest songwriters of the 20th century?   Like discussions about boxing champs or baseball all-stars, this category starts endless arguments. Witty Cole Porter has fervent fans. Jerome Kern, no...

George Gershwin: Half a Genius

George Gershwin: Half a Genius BY LAWRENCE TOPPMAN   George Gershwin: Half a Genius   The title “An American Rhapsody: The Gershwin Songbook” is missing a letter. It should actually be “Gershwins.” Without brother Ira, George would be remembered as…what? Perhaps a...

Three Geniuses That Died Young

Three Geniuses That Died Young BY LAWRENCE TOPPMAN   Three geniuses who died young   Any artist who still has a creative spark dies too early, whether he’s 56 (Beethoven) or 69 (Wagner) or even 87 (Verdi). But we mourn most deeply the ones who don’t reach half a...