Monday, May 25, 2009

My stake in the Van Cliburn Competition

I am anxiously monitoring the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, which is going on right now down in Texas, because, as I have admitted before, I have a horse in the race. I want my namesake, Eduard Kunz, to win. That is a picture of Kunz up above. He is a nice looking young man! Photogenic, is the word often used. That is what they used to say about Leonard Pennario, too. It is as if they do not want to come out and say the guy is great-looking.

I want Kunz to win first of all because we have the same name, second because he is my Facebook friend, plus I have his cell phone number so I can be a pain and call him right away if he wins. When he wins. I am going to think positive here.

Also a Kunz win in the Cliburn will make my name, Mary Kunz Goldman, sound that much more distinguished.

Kunz, who is from Russia, played Scarlatti in his preliminary round which you can hear here.


I am a little worried about Kunz and his Scarlatti. Other people were playing Liszt and I wonder if that Scarlatti was too laid back, too bloodless, next to these flashier offerings. His playing in that clip has little drama. Also, I understand he played five Scarlatti sonatas in a row. Which, I am sorry, that is just too much.

Plus he is up against this 20-year-old blind Japanese pianist which, I would not like to be up against him. The Japanese pianist, Nobuyuki Tsujii, just because of his raw abilities, you got to figure he has to win one of the medals. Tsujii got a five-minute standing ovation which is very unusual and Van Cliburn said his performance was "like a healing service."

Here is Nobu, as he is called, Tsujii playing Chopin etudes. Arrgh.

Eduard Kunz has changed his Facebook picture and that is not a good sign. His old one showed him slouched on what looked like a balcony, smoking a cigarette, looking cool and confident. His new one shows him pulling a terrible face.

Oh, wait. I just checked and the old picture is back. So that is all right anyway. That is Eduard Kunz's Facebook picture on the left. It is too good not to share.

Plus here is a Texas Web blog suggesting Kunz is the front-runner so far. The writer of this blog has a wonderful name! It is Olin Chism.

Here is the writer of the Cliburn Web log evaluating Kunz's performance as if it were sports. Ha, ha! He even talks about "half time." I wonder how you get that gig, blogging about the competition on the Cliburn site. That sounds like fun. Except you know me, I would get into trouble and get thrown out the first day.

Here is a little Q&A with Kunz. They give the pronunciation as "koonz." Interesting. Anyway, Kunz says he rarely smokes now. "I like a cold beer," he says. Just like his Buffalo relatives!

Also he says he would love to have a shot with Van Cliburn. That is great! I can not remember if Van Cliburn ...

...drank when we were at his house but I will say this, I can imagine him knocking back a shot. And yes, that would be cool to have a shot with Van Cliburn. There were a few times I had a glass of wine with Pennario so I can say with authority, it is fun to drink with a great pianist.

How did I get onto all this? I am distracted. I am nutzed! It is just that I want Eduard Kunz to triumph at the Cliburn. It would add immeasurable oomph and prestige to my name.

Go, Cousin Eduard, go!

You are my ticket outta here!


  1. This is probably not the same Eddie Kunz currently serving as a right-handed relief pitcher for the Buffalo Bisons, eh?

  2. I doubt Van Cliburn drank when you were at his house. I've read that he doesn't drink.