The Cliburn



Candace Bawcombe, pianist
Pianist Candace Bawcombe has performed as soloist, recitalist, chamber, and orchestral musician in the DFW area since her return to Texas in 1991. The New York Times hailed her as “…deeply talented; a beautiful pianist.” She has enjoyed collaborations with many artists including violinists Pinchas Zukerman, Erick Friedman, Peter Winograd, Eugene Drucker, and concertmasters of many orchestras. Metropolitan Opera Star Renée Fleming and Ms. Bawcombe performed the world premiere of Three Persian Songs by Bezhad Ranjbaran in Alice Tully Hall.  She has performed and taught in festivals in the United States, Southeast Asia, and the United Kingdom. Ms. Bawcombe was an integral part of Dallas Chamber Music Society for 10 years beginning as the first executive director and later as artistic director.  She hosted “Spotlight on Chamber Music” on WRR Classical 101.1FM for several years.

Ms. Bawcombe holds a Master of Music from The Juilliard School, where she studied with Abbey Simon and Herbert Stessin. She was 11 years old when she was accepted into the piano studio of concert pianist Lili Kraus. Kraus, who studied with Béla Bartók, Zoltán Kodály, and Artur Schnabel, mentored Ms. Bawcombe for 14 years. Ms Bawcombe is currently a featured artist for the Cliburn’s Musical Awakenings® education program for elementary school students in North Texas. She has a piano studio of gifted young pianists at the Music Institute of North Texas in Frisco. Ms. Bawcombe is married to 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
Soprano Corrie Donovan has been praised for her warm lyricism and her charming stage presence. She has been featured in performances with the Avant Chamber Ballet Company, Cliburn at the Modern, Corpus Christi Symphony, Ensemble75, Fort Worth Hall Ensemble, Lyric Theater in Irving, Los Colinas Symphony, Music of the Americas, and TCU’s Festival of American Art Song.

Last season, she performed with the Centro Fox Orchestra in a concert of opera, jazz, and musical theater in Guanajuato, Mexico, by personal request of the former Mexican President Vicente Fox. She will return for two additional concerts in December 2015. Other highlights include appearing in “Techno Opera” at Bass Hall with DJ James Talambas and hosting the First Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival.

Ms. Donovan was the Soprano Apprentice for Fort Worth Opera, and has returned as a frequent performer for the past four seasons. She has taken on roles as Bea in Three Decembers (International Vocal Academy Institute in Virginia) and Juliette in Romeo and Juliet (Seagle Music Colony), and was also a selected soloist for the 2014 Baroque Workshop, Il Cuore Canta, in New York City.

A classically trained vocalist, Ms. Donovan also sings with jazz bands, and has recorded and performed country, folk, and hip hop. She is the recipient of the Most Promising Vocalist Award in the USA World Showcase Tour and the Jennifer White Memorial Award from Shreveport’s Singer of the Year Competition.


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 sixth subscription season of concerts. The group’s October 2014 concert was named on the Fort Worth Star-Telegram top ten classical performances of the year list. 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. She makes silver and beaded jewelry 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’s performances have been broadcast on WFMT (Chicago), WFHB (Bloomington, IN), FM 91 (Northwest Ohio), and in China. He has played concerti with the symphony orchestras of Fort Worth, Dallas, Victoria, and others. Recent performance highlights include a recital for Chicago’s prestigious Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts, a concert in Shanghai’s Oriental Art Center, and a recital at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City. Mr. Mitchell’s recording of Claudio Santoro’s Sonata No. 4, “Fantasia” (1957) is featured on Piano de Pampa y Jungla: A Collection of Latin American Piano Music, and his recently recorded DVD and CD with double bassist Szymon Marciniak will be released early 2016.

The Texas Commission on the Arts named Mr. Mitchell to its 2014-16 Texas Touring Roster, and this coming season he returns for a fourth year as a featured artist for Musical Awakenings®. Mr. Mitchell holds degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and is currently working toward his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at TCU, where he studies with John Owings.

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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 76102


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