Gold-medal gathering

Cliburn celebrates 2022 winners with primo party in Fort Worth's Sundance Square

Cliburn celebrates 2022 winners with primo party in Sundance Square

Jan Falcona, Sherry Hudson, Arisa Sunio
Jan Falcona, Sherry Hudson, and Arisa Sunio "play" the floor piano. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Cliburn winners party
Gold medalist Yunchan Lim (left), silver medalist Anna Geniushene, and bronze medalist Dmytro Choni onstage at Sundance Square Plaza. Photo courtesy of The Cliburn
Cliburn winners party
America pianist Clayton Stephenson, a favorite throughout the competition, chats at the party. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Kayla Caraway, Drew Robbins
Kayla Caraway, Drew Robbins Photo by Ashley Gongora
Cameron Crates, Angela Crate, Tommy Smith, Andreas Haefliger, Marina Piccinini
Cameron Crates, Angela Crates, Tommy Smith, Andreas Haefliger, Marina Piccinini Photo by Ashley Gongora
Natalie Wilkins, Zoya Anjum, Melissa Shahbaz, Andrea Palmer, Barbara Lotts
Natalie Wilkins, Zoya Anjum, Melissa Shahbaz, Andrea Palmer, Barbara Lott Photo by Ashley Gongora
Kayvon Shahbaz, Siwoung Song
Kayvon Shahbaz, Siwoung Song Photo by Ashley Gongora
Cliburn winners party
Dmytro Choni, Anna Geniushene, Jacques Marquis, Yunchan Lim, Mayor Mattie Parker, and Jeff King on stage. Photo courtesy of The Cliburn
Cliburn winners party
Finalist Ilya Shmukler, of Russia, chats with partygoers. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Soohyun Yun, Natasha Wu, Jiaming Li
Soohyun Yun, Natasha Wu, Jiaming Li Photo by Ashley Gongora
Lowell Boswell, Ashley Boswell, Suhail Arastu, Stephen Wheeler
Lowell Boswell, Ashley Boswell, Suhail Arastu, Stephen Wheeler Photo by Ashley Gongora
Jinhyung Park, Honggi Kim, Andreas Haefliger, Marina Piccinini
Jinhyung Park, Honggi Kim, Andreas Haefliger, Marina Piccinini Photo by Ashley Gongora
Rico Gulda, Christiane Schuepbach, Martin Schuepbach
Rico Gulda, Christiane Schuepbach, Martin Schuepbach  Photo by Ashley Gongora
Cliburn winners party
Anna Genuishene poses for photos with fans. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Roy Rhodes, Sally King
Roy Rhodes, Sally King Photo by Ashley Gongora
Yunchan Lim, Cliburn winner
Gold medalist Yunchan Lim visits with guests at a reception inside Del Frisco's Grille. Photo courtesy of The Cliburn
Cliburn winners part
Volunteers watch as the winners are announced on the big screen. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Cliburn winners party
The Cliburn logo appeared on the clock high above the square. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Cliburn winners party
The Fort Worth Jazz Orchestra entertained. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Cliburn winners party
Composer and competition juror Stephen Hough signs an autograph. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Cliburn winners party
The giant "VC" (Van Cliburn) logo sculpture was a popular selfie spot. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Cliburn winners party
Competition jurors enjoy the party. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Cliburn winners party
Superfans braved the heat to watch the finals outdoors. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Cliburn winners party
The awards were broadcast on a giant LED screen on the plaza. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Jan Falcona, Sherry Hudson, Arisa Sunio
Cliburn winners party
Cliburn winners party
Kayla Caraway, Drew Robbins
Cameron Crates, Angela Crate, Tommy Smith, Andreas Haefliger, Marina Piccinini
Natalie Wilkins, Zoya Anjum, Melissa Shahbaz, Andrea Palmer, Barbara Lotts
Kayvon Shahbaz, Siwoung Song
Cliburn winners party
Cliburn winners party
Soohyun Yun, Natasha Wu, Jiaming Li
Lowell Boswell, Ashley Boswell, Suhail Arastu, Stephen Wheeler
Jinhyung Park, Honggi Kim, Andreas Haefliger, Marina Piccinini
Rico Gulda, Christiane Schuepbach, Martin Schuepbach
Cliburn winners party
Roy Rhodes, Sally King
Yunchan Lim, Cliburn winner
Cliburn winners part
Cliburn winners party
Cliburn winners party
Cliburn winners party
Cliburn winners party
Cliburn winners party
Cliburn winners party
Cliburn winners party

After they'd worked hard and played hard on the piano for 17 days, the winners of the 2022 Cliburn Competition got to party hard with their Fort Worth fans in Sundance Square.

Following the historic conclusion of the competition at Bass Hall on June 18, the three medalists — Yunchan Lim of South Korea (gold), Anna Geniushene of Russia (silver), and Dmytro Choni of Ukraine (bronze) — were given a celebrity-style police escort to the Sundance Square Plaza.

There, Cliburn CEO Jacques Marquis and board chairman Jeff King presented them on stage to an adoring crowd, and Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker declared them "honorary Fort Worthians."

The winners posed for photos and signed autographs for superfans, old and young. (Earlier in the day, even before he'd won the competition, 18-year-old Lim had already been spotted with a "Beatle-mania"-type gaggle of young fans around him at Bass Hall.)

The crowd even followed them as they were police-escorted across the plaza to a reception for Cliburn sponsors, volunteers, fellow competitors, and VIPs at Del Frisco's Grille. Inside, the laureates could finally relax with some cold and cheerful libations, heavy hors d'oeurves, and bite-sized desserts.

But the public celebration of Fort Worth's premier cultural event didn't end when the winners disappeared from view. Adonis Rose and the Fort Worth Jazz Orchestra entertained at the "Plaza Party" for hours, while attendees took selfies in front of several Cliburn-themed sculptures and backdrops and tried their best Tom Hanks-Big impression on a giant floor piano.

Food trucks and vendors kept the crowd fueled up and fed; after all, some had been there since "hot: thirty" of the afternoon. Beginning at 2 pm, folks had started gathering around a giant LED screen to watch the finalists perform concertos with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and conductor Marin Alsop. An even bigger crowd watched as the new winners were announced in a ceremony hosted by classical music radio host Fred Child.

The sun finally dropped below the horizon and string lights illuminated the plaza, setting the scene for a unique celebratory event that won't happen again for another four years.

Among those spotted in the crowd, enjoying the evening, were Jinhyung Park, Honggi Kim, Andreas Haefliger, Marina Piccinini, Kayla Caraway, Drew Robbins, Jan Falcona, Sherry Hudson, Arisa Sunio, Soohyun Yun, Natasha Wu, Jiaming Li, Lowell Boswell, Ashley Boswell, Suhail Arastu, Stephen Wheeler, Natalie Wilkins, Zoya Anjum, Melissa Shahbaz, Andrea Palmer, Barbara Lott, Rico Gulda, Orli Shaham, Christiane Schuepbach, Martin Schuepbach, Roy Rhodes, Sally King, Kayvon Shahbaz, Siwoung Song, Cameron Crates, Angela Crates, Tommy Smith, Stephen Hough, Ilya Shmukler, and Clayton Stephenson.