What happened to Chinese pianist after the Tchaikovsky disaster

A message from 劉孟捷 Meng-Chieh Liu, his teacher at Curtis:


Tianxu An, who has been studying with me at Curtis for the last four years, has had an incredible milestone in his musical journey. He was fortunate enough to be among 26 participants selected to attend the 16th Tchaikovsky Competition. After ten grueling days of competition he reached the finals and despite a mishap out of his control, he played with remarkable musicianship under the pressure of those circumstances. I am truly proud of him for his extraordinary playing throughout the competition and ultimately receiving fourth prize. Through this amazing experience he has gained quite a fan base and I cannot thank all our friends and colleagues enough for their support. Bravo, Tianxu!


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  • Good to hear. A horrible thing to happen to him but there’s no such thing as bad publicity! Onwards and upwards for him hopefully.

    • Most likely he would’ve gained nothing meaningful by accepting, so it was probably a correct and intelligent decision. The “full apology” and the “offer to repeat” shows that it was obvious to everyone who was there that he was definitely wronged.

  • 15 minutes of fame is 15 minutes of fame. Congrats, he’s the most famous 4th place finisher in the history of piano competitions.

      • I agree that in no other piano competition would the Tchaikovsky 2nd be a choice, much less the winning choice.

        But then again, in no other competition would there be 7 Tchaikovsky first piano concertos played 7 times in a row.

        There is such thing as mental fatigue.

        So in this context, the choice of the Tchaikovsky second was brilliant. And it worked.

        Next year, there will be as many 2nd concerti as there will be 1st concerti.

  • He has the distinction of being one of the most memorable, most human of the piano competitors.

    I’m sure everyone is trying to book Mr. Kantorow right now. He is going to be very busy and will command top fees, of course. Sometimes orchs and managers are not looking for #1, but someone who they would really enjoy hearing and playing with, who also might be more available. For me, Tianxu An is that person.

    I admired his playing, and his integrity. He is someone I would like to hear solo with my orch. I passed in my recommendation yesterday, along with several finalists (none of them 1st place winners) who I’ve respectfully asked my manager to consider. He’s listened to me once before, when I recommended a 4th place winner at the last Tchaik. who came to solo with us. It was a tremendous success and the audience and orch. were very pleased!

    Hoping we’ll have a chance to hear Tianxu in person soon. He would be such a wonderful and interesting soloist!

  • Denis Matsuev: “Separately, I’ll say a little about the Chinese pianist An Tianxiu, who won the fourth prize…his performance in the second round was sensational (he played Variations on the Theme of Chopin, Rahmaninov, and Variations on the Theme of Paganini, Brahms). This is a man who, at the age of 20, plays beyond his years of maturity and possesses an excellent piano base. I think that the Tchaikovsky Competition will serve as a serious starting point for his great stage life.” https://rg.ru/2019/06/28/macuev-o-konkurse-chajkovskogo-byla-rossyp-udivitelnyh-talantov.html
    Bravo, Tianxu An !

  • One thing I would like to see in his future is a string of new piano concerti composed for him by established and new Chinese composers. Build that repertoire. He’s in the driver’s seat now to help make that happen.

    • Yes, and especially concerti with aleatoric openings and surprise hairyvations, (preferably in distant, unrelated keys…or maybe not in any keys…)to highlight his exceptional reflexes and sang-froid. maybe he’ll need to work on his rude face-pulling a bit.

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