University of Houston alumnus and rising classical music star Kenny Broberg has accomplished what only a handful of American pianists have done before – win a medal at the International Tchaikovsky Competition. Arguably the most esteemed piano competition in the world, Broberg finished third to receive the bronze medal and a $10,000 cash prize. He was the only American to compete in the finals. The Tchaikovsky began in 1958 and is held every four years in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia.
Broberg, 25, has been on a steady rise in the competitive world of international piano competitions since graduating from the UH Moores School of Music (MSM) in 2016. He won the silver medal at the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and earned prizes and medals at competitions in Sydney, the United Kingdom, New Orleans, Seattle and Dallas. All of these awards have led to a flourishing concert career with 70 performances annually as a soloist.
Nancy Weems, chair of the MSM piano program, taught Broberg during his time at UH. He is now studying under 2001 Cliburn gold medalist Stanislav Ioudenitch at Park International Center for Music in the Kansas City area, but Weems has remained his mentor and confidante throughout his blossoming career. She says Broberg’s performances at the Tchaikovsky were well-received throughout the competition.
“In the semifinal round, Kenny’s juxtaposition of important piano sonatas by American composer Samuel Barber and Russian composer Nikolai Medtner served as a meaningful testament to the power of music to cross international and cultural boundaries,” Weems explained. “He performed both with equal conviction and understanding.”
Before heading to Moscow, Broberg treated audiences at the Texas Music Festival’s 30th season opener to a preview recital of the music he performed during all three rounds of the Tchaikovsky.
“Kenny is a remarkable young American artist with a unique and colorful musical voice. He is a ‘poet of the piano’ and is both ready and worthy of an important international career,” Weems added. “I sincerely hope that the professional musical world will welcome him with open arms and that his artistry will continue to blossom and to grace the stages of the world for many years to come.”