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Ukrainian Wins Van Cliburn Competition

Kholodenko expressing joy at winning the prestigious piano competition. Rodger Mallison

FORT WORTH, Texas — Vadym Kholodenko of  Ukraine has won the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, just four months after the death of the contest's namesake.

The competition is held every four years and remains among the top showcases for the world's best pianists.

Cliburn's win at the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958 helped thaw the icy rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union, and Cliburn gained worldwide fame and rock-star status.

Cliburn died in February at age 78 after battling bone cancer.

"This competition continues to be what Van wanted: support to young, excellent artists who want to share their art with wider audiences," said Cliburn's president and chief executive Jacques Marquis. "They bring to the classical world a new voice."

Kholodenko, 26, said he was glad his wife could watch all of his performances online as she remained in Moscow with their young daughter.

"She tried not to criticize too much because she understood the pressure," he said after winning Sunday night.

Beatrice Rana of Italy placed second, and Sean Chen of the United States placed third. The other three finalists were Fei-Fei Dong of China, Nikita Mndoyants of Russia and Tomoki Sakata of Japan.

The winner receives $50,000, a live recording of his or her competition performances, a studio recording and performance attire. The second- and third-prize winners both receive $20,000 and a live recording of their competition performances. The other three each receive $10,000, and all six finalists receive three years of concert management.

People around the world watched performances online. During the contest, the Cliburn's webcast had about half a million page views, more than twice the amount in the previous competition in 2009, according to competition officials.

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