Park University's Kenny Broberg Ties For Third In 'Olympics' Of Piano Competitions | KCUR

Park University's Kenny Broberg Ties For Third In 'Olympics' Of Piano Competitions

Jun 27, 2019

Kansas City pianist Kenny Broberg came in third on Thursday afternoon in the final round of the Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow, Russia. Judges awarded ties for both second and third place, including a three-way tie for third

Broberg, a piano master's candidate at Park University's International Center for Music in Parkville, Missouri, was the only American to make it to the finals. 

"This competition is, some people say it's the equivalent of the Olympics," said ICM director Roger Kugler.

His other analogy was the draft. 

"Envision if we had an athlete from one of our athletic teams getting involved in the potential of being drafted into a professional sports organization," said Kugler. "That's the anticipation of going into this kind of festival."

Only 24 pianists were invited to compete in the prestigious event, which launched in 1958 with piano and violin, and expanded to include cello, voice, woodwinds and brass. It's held every four years in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

A watch party in the Pirate Cafe on the Park University campus for Kenny Broberg's performance in the finals. Earlier rounds, like this one, were shown during the intermission.
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

After two rounds of competition on Tuesday and Wednesday, seven pianists continued on to the final round Thursday, including Broberg. In 2017, Broberg won the Van Cliburn silver medal at the age of 23.

Kugler and Steven McDonald, Park ICM's director of orchestral activities, were among a few dozen students, faculty and area residents who gathered Thursday in the Pirate Cafe, a campus cafeteria, to watch a live stream of Broberg's performance with the Saint Petersburg Orchestra, the final performance of the competition.

"It's a challenge," said Kugler. "It's a tough, exciting, and challenging vocational pursuit."

Past participants in the Tchaikovsky piano competition include musicians such as pianist Van Cliburn and cellist Daniel Veis, who heads up Park ICM's cello department. 

Laura Spencer is an arts reporter at KCUR 89.3. You can reach her on Twitter at @lauraspencer.