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'Have fun ... It's not sports!'

Cliburn Tuesday night, the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition's jury spoke, and the original 29 contestants were cruelly cut down to a mere 12. These 12 go on to the semifinals, and then six advance to the finals.

Interestingly, no American pianists made the cut.

Just as interestingly, the announcement on the Cliburn Foundation Web site about who was in and who was out elicited a flurry of angry comments. They are a riot to read through. It is like a classical piano version of "American Idol."

"What happened to Lukas Vondracek and Spencer Myer? What a shame."

"Bravo to the judges for these selections: Kunz, Vacatello, Tsujii, Lam, and Son." (Kunz is Eduard Kunz of Russia, whom I am cheering on because of his name.)

"I was stunned that Amy Yang didn’t make it into the semifinals. I thought she was the most artistically mature of all."

"I’m very glad that Zhang Haochen made it. Us 19 year-olds also have things to express through music, and his music rang out clearly."

"So much for artistry and poetry this year! It is no wonder why so few Cliburn winners have careers internationally after this competition is over."

"My predictions for the finals: Definitely Haochen Zhang, Eduard Kunz and Mariangela Vacatello. The other 3 spots are still up for grabs, but I’d like to see them go to Ran Dank, Evgeni Bozhanov and Andrea Lam."

"well, well well, I can only see how narrow-mind most of u here are, and…deaf…well, if Kunz is going into semifnals…come on, I can only say, this is worse then politics, because here we are pretending talking about MUSIC, which should be the highest of the arts.."

The best comment ...

"Have fun and be happy! It is NOT SPORTS!"

Last time I checked there were 55 comments by people weighing in on Tuesday night's announcement of the semifinalists. If any Buffalonians want to broadcast our loud Buffalo opinions -- come on, we know we want to -- you can get in on this particular argument here.

And you can continue to track the progress of the competition, which runs through June 7, on the Van Cliburn Foundation blog here.

-- Mary Kunz Goldman

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