The Cliburn



Candace Bawcombe, pianist
Candace Bawcombe has been a pianist since age 4. She grew up in a small town south of Fort Worth and was influenced by the classical music recordings her parents played each day. She studied piano for 3 years with Dr. Grace Ward Lankford, co-founder of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. At age 11, she was accepted into the studio of Hungarian pianist, Mme. Lili Kraus—who served as a juror of the Cliburn Competition until the mid-1980s—and remained in her studio as a student of piano and music theory at TCU.

Today, Ms. Bawcombe is artistic director of the Dallas Chamber Music Society and hosts a radio show called “Spotlight on Chamber Music” on WRR Classical 101.1. She is an accomplished organist and choir director, and holds a position as organist and music director at St. Vincent’s Anglican Cathedral in Bedford, Texas. She will perform as organist-in-residence at Yorkminster Cathedral in 2014.

Ms. Bawcombe graduated from The Juilliard School in New York where she met her husband, Dallas Symphony Orchestra violinist Andrew Schast.


Shields-Collins (Buddy) Bray, program host
Shields-Collins Bray has been visiting schools with the Cliburn Musical Awakenings® series for over ten years, and he says it is the most enjoyable work he does.

When he is not in the schools talking about music, Mr. Bray serves as artistic director of the Cliburn at the Modern series and is the principal keyboardist for the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Bray also hosts the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra’s pre-concert discussion series, where he does much the same thing as in the schools—he tries to make his audience comfortable with the music they will hear, and he does it with a spirit of discovery and fun.

Mr. Bray comes from a family of teachers, and he is glad to be carrying on the family tradition.


Sara Doan, program host
Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Sara Doan began studying piano at the age of 3 with Donna Edwards. Under her tutelage, Miss Doan won top prizes in several state and regional competitions. She earned a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, and a master’s degree, magna cum laude, in piano performance at the University of North Texas. Miss Doan is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Musical Arts at TCU.

Miss Doan has performed with the Meadows Symphony Orchestra (Dallas) and the North Texas Symphony Orchestra (Denton). She has presented recitals across Texas, and in Oklahoma, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D. C.  In December 2010, Miss Doan served as guest artist in the 1st International Piano Festival of Bogota, Colombia where she performed, taught master classes, led discussions, and served on the competition jury.

Miss Doan has served as collaborative pianist-in-residence at Southeastern Oklahoma State and adjunct professor of piano at the University of North Texas. She maintains a private studio in the DFW area and performs regularly with her chamber groups, Trio 8831 and The 3 Misfits.  She also presents lectures and educational programs through the Fort Worth Music Fund and Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth.  Since being diagnosed with focal dystonia in her right hand, Miss Doan has specialized in music for the left hand.


Corrie Donovan, program host
Corrie Donovan recently finished her apprenticeship as soprano in the Fort Worth Opera Studio. She is an avid singer of jazz, contemporary, and classical music. Most recently, Ms. Donovan played Sor Isabel in the world premier of With Blood, With Ink in Fort Worth Opera’s 2014 festival. She also participated in the annual baroque workshop in New York City Il Cuore Canta.

Ms. Donovan has sung with the Granbury Champagne Concert Series, Fort Worth Opera Festival, Fort Worth Symphony Hall Ensemble in the Cattle Baron Concert at Thistle Hill Mansion, and Cliburn at the Modern. She was selected as the soprano soloist for the Los Colinas Symphony Orchestra’s Christmas Concert Series and was the star vocalist for the Music of the Americas World Premier Concert with the Fort Worth Music Fund.

In 2012, Ms. Donovan received the Jennifer White Memorial Award from Shreveport’s Singer of the Year Competition and was voted one of the “Top Ten Most Beautiful Women” in Fort Worth by Fort Worth City Magazine. She also received the Most Promising Vocalist prize in the USA World Showcase Tour in Las Vegas in 2005.


Karen Hall, program host
Karen Hall has been a member of the cello section of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra since 1979. She has also held positions with the Dallas Opera Orchestra, the Memphis Symphony, and most recently, the Hawaii Symphony in a one-year appointment.

Ms. Hall is the artistic director of Hall Ensemble, a chamber music group entering its fifth subscription season of elegant house concerts. An ardent proponent of historic performance practice, she also plays the baroque cello and viola da gamba, and is a founding member of Texas Camerata.

In addition to her performing career, Ms. Hall is a popular speaker and narrator, and is enthusiastic about hosting for the Cliburn’s Musical Awakenings series beginning fall 2014. Ms. Hall also makes jewelry under the name “Essential Graces” and enjoys traveling, with and without her cello.


Gloria Lin, pianist
Gloria Lin has performed at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, Kosciuszko Foundation, the United Nations, the Ford Center in Toronto, and in China, France, Mexico, Peru, Japan, Spain, and Venezuela. She is a guest at such prestigious series and venues as international festivals in Cartagena, Colombia and in Morelia, Mexico; the Sociedad Filarmonica in Lima; Cliburn at the Modern; and Fort Worth Chamber Music Society. She has been featured on prominent national and international media, including APM’s Performance Today, WNYC’s Soundcheck, national television and radio broadcasts in Colombia, and Japan’s public television NHK.

Dr. Lin was educated at The Juilliard School, Interlochen Arts Academy, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and Manhattan School of Music, and earned her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree at Indiana University-Bloomington. She has led master classes at Beijing’s Central Conservatory, as well as at the National Conservatory in Lima and the Conservatorio de las Rosas in Morelia, Mexico, among other institutions. She currently serves on the piano faculty at TCU’s School of Music in Fort Worth, Texas.


Alex McDonald, pianist
Since his orchestral debut at age 11, pianist Alex McDonald has performed across the United States as well as in Israel, Mexico, Canada, Japan, and South Korea. Additionally, he has been a featured performer on PBS, WRR (Dallas/Ft. Worth),KUHA and KUHF (Houston), NPR, and WQXR (New York City). Awards include second prize at the 2007 New Orleans International Piano Competition and second prize at the 2001 Gina Bachauer International Young Artist Piano Competition. In 2008, he was named a Harvey Fellow by the Mustard Seed Foundation. In 2013, he was a competitor in the Fourteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

Dr. McDonald is currently on faculty at Texas Woman’s University, having previously taught at Richland College as well as The Juilliard School. Additionally, his private piano students have been admitted to Juilliard, Eastman, and New England Conservatory, and have performed at Carnegie’s Weill Hall and on WRR. Deeply concerned about a healthy integration of life with music, he has actively pursued community formation both as an R.A. in the Juilliard residence hall and as president of Juilliard Christian Fellowship.

Dr. McDonald received his bachelor’s degree from New England Conservatory with Academic Honors and Distinction in Performance, and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Juilliard. His doctoral document, a source study on manuscripts and editions for Liszt’s Sonata in B Minor, has been cited in the most recent edition of the sonata by Alfred Publishers, edited by Nancy Bricard.


Evan Mitchell, pianist
Evan Mitchell performs both solo and collaborative concerts, and has been heard in New York’s Steinway Hall, and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and through broadcasts on WFMT (Chicago), FM 91 (Northwest Ohio), and WFHB (Bloomington, IN). Mr. Mitchell has played concerti with orchestras including the Fort Worth and Victoria Symphonies. His recording of Claudio Santoro’s Sonata No. 4, Fantasia (1957) is featured on the 2012 CD release, Piano de Pampa y Jungla: A Collection of Latin American Piano Music. Among other honors, Mr. Mitchell has been awarded first prize in the Kingsville International Competition, Five Towns Music Competition, and LimaSymphony Orchestra Young Artists Competition.

Highlights of the 2013–14 season included debuts with Chicago’s prestigious Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts series and at Shanghai’s Oriental Art Center. In June 2014, the Texas Commission on the Arts named Mr. Mitchell to its 2014–16 Texas Touring Roster.

Mr. Mitchell holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He is currently working towards his Doctorate of Musical Arts with Cliburn Gold Medalist José Feghali at TCU.

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Jonathan Tsay, pianist and program host
Jonathan Tsay earned a Bachelor of Music with honors from the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University and his doctorate at l’Université de Montréal in Canada. In addition to a full performing and teaching schedule, Dr. Tsay serves as artistic director of Ensemble75, a chamber music series based out of Dallas.

Dr. Tsay’s musical studies include violin, percussion, composition, and conducting. He served as pianist, violinist, violist, and percussionist for the Fort Worth Youth Orchestra, where he also won the Young Artists’ Award. Dr. Tsay has also been a featured soloist with the Fort Worth Youth Orchestra, Houston School for the Performing and Visual Arts Orchestra, and Meadows Symphony Orchestra at SMU. Recent performances include collaborations with members of Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Plano Symphony Orchestra, and Avant Chamber Ballet.

Dr. Tsay has been a top prize winner in several piano competitions and presents concerts throughout the United States and Canada. He performs regularly as guest artist for the Cliburn’s Musical Awakenings® program.

Our Mission

It is the mission of the Cliburn to advance classical piano music throughout the world. Its international competitions, education programs, and concert series embody an enduring commitment to artistic excellence and the discovery of young artists.



The Cliburn is a not-for-profit organization governed by a board of directors, elected for a four year term. It is sustained by the generous support from individuals, foundations, corporations, the tireless efforts of volunteers, and embraced by the community of Fort Worth. The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition is a proud member of the World Federation of International Music Competitions.


201 Main Street, Suite 100
Fort Worth, TX 76116


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