Claire Huangci | Bennett-Gordon Hall, Ravinia Festival | Classical | Chicago Reader

Claire Huangci Soundboard Recommended Critics' Picks

When: Thu., Aug. 19, 5:30 p.m. 2010

Born in upstate New York in 1990, Claire Huangci got a grand piano for her sixth birthday, began lessons at seven, and won her first competition at eight with the Ocean City Pops Orchestra. She took the grand prize at the 1999 World Piano Competition and in 2002 won the Philadelphia Orchestra Albert M. Greenfield Student Competition. She's received first prize in the 2006 Kosciuszko Chopin International, the 2009 International Chopin Piano Competition, and—biggest yet—the 2010 U.S. National Chopin Piano Competition, which confers an award of $20,000, an international tour, and automatic acceptance into the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, where she's already made it through preliminaries. Huangci, who graduated from the Curtis Institute and currently studies with Arie Vardi at Germany's Hochschule für Musik, hasn't yet recorded, and it's difficult to make a call on her artistic maturity based on her many YouTube videos—hearing her live should prove informative. Tonight she presents a recital that includes plenty of Chopin: Ballades no. 1 in G Minor and no. 2 in F Major and Sonata no. 2 in B-flat Minor, nicknamed "Funeral March" for its third-movement adagio. Huangci opens the program with Beethoven's Rondo Capriccio in G Major and concludes with Balakirev's notoriously difficult "Islamey." —Barbara Yaross

Price: $10

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