PICK A NUMBER: Last night, the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition held its black-tie draw party. That’s when the 30 competitors learn when they will perform. In the past, players simply performed in the order they were drawn. But this year, there was a twist. When the players’ names were called, they walked to the stage to choose a time slot. So is it better to go first or last? The preference was pretty obvious last night. When the final name – Claire Huangci of the U.S. – was called, the only slot left was the one leading off the competition. “I think I’m OK with it,” she told me moments after. “By this time, you should be prepared to play any time.” Incidentally, the first competitor to hear her name called – Fei-Fei Dong of China – chose slot No. 24. The complete lineup is on the Cliburn’s website.
LONG LIVE THE KING: On Saturday, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History opens “Elvis at 21.” The exhibition collects 56 photographs by Alfred Wertheimer, who chronicled Presley’s rise to stardom in 1956. Chris Murray, the exhibit’s co-creator, recently had a chance to tour the exhibit with Priscilla Presley. He tells dfw.com about her reaction: “She looked at me and said, ‘Chris, this is the man I fell in love with.’ And I knew we’d hit pay dirt.”
QUOTABLE: ” As pianists, we subconsciously feel bad when we don’t memorize something.”
– 2009 Cliburn Gold Medalist Haochen Zhang, as he sheepishly pulled out a piece of paper containing the speech he delivered at last night’s draw party.