Witness International Stars in the Making

Behzod Abduraimov Following his Acclaimed Performance with The Cleveland Orchestra with David Radzynski as Concertmaster.
(Photo Courtesy Park University)

When was the last time you got to witness the first steps of international stars in the making? Even more amazingly, those stars were trained by award-winning masters right here at Park University’s International Center for Music! The shaping of every great musician involves constant practice, natural talent and, perhaps most important of all, teachers whose influence can mold an artist through caring attention, and have an in-depth understanding of music and know what it takes to build a major international career in classical music. Apparently, the faculty at Park ICM have these gifts because they’re churning out award-winning musicians faster than anyone can fathom. And they’re performing here in Kansas City for everyone to enjoy.

Park ICM has a few major international success stories to share.

Behzod Abduraimov, the 32-year-old Uzbeki pianist, was the first prodigy of Van Cliburn gold medalist Stanislav Ioudenitch. In 2009, Behzod won the London International Piano Competition and his trajectory to the stars was set. In his role as Artist-in-Residence for Park ICM, Behzod has continued to shine the spotlight on Park’s Kansas City-based boutique conservatory through his heart-stopping performances around the globe with the world’s leading orchestras.

The violinist David Radzynski, student of Park violin master Ben Sayevich, became the youngest concertmaster in the world when he auditioned for and won the position for the Israel Philharmonic. David had studied at both the Jacob’s School of Music at Indiana University with Mauricio Fuks and at Yale University before coming to study with Professor Sayevich for an Artist Diploma (a course of study for which very few are chosen).

And, of course, pianist Kenny Broberg has seemingly become Park’s one-man publicity machine. A native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, the pianist kept the international press asking, “Where is Park University?” Kenny first won the silver medal at the Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2017. Then two years later, he earned the Bronze Medal in the 2019 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. And finally, he was the winner of the American Pianists Awards in 2021. In four short years, in the middle of COVID, Kenny sparked the curiosity of major international press outlets that had now found Park University.

Photo from Medici TV – Kenny Broberg in the Finals of the 16th International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.

Something indeed is happening at Park ICM. How can this tiny conservatory possibly find and mold these many international stars? Ever since Kenny started winning major awards, Park ICM has been churning out world-class musicians faster than ever before.

Over the last few years, Park ICM students have continually kept the international press knocking on Park University’s doors. In fact, a new cadre of musicians has recently garnered ever increasing amounts of media attention. In the last 10 months, several students and alums have made international headlines.

In June, graduate student Ilya Shmukler made the finals of the Sixteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and earned the Mozart award. Following the competition, Ilya went on to make his Carnegie Hall debut in December of this year with a large group of Kansas Citians there to cheer him on.

In November, graduate student Sergey Belyavsky won Second Prize (and about 10 other prizes including the Audience Prize) at the Concours de Genève International Piano Competition in Geneva, Switzerland. Originally from Moscow, Sergey is currently pursuing his Artist Diploma with Professor Ioudenitch. His prize helps to place him with orchestras worldwide. Two weeks later, graduate student Michael Davidman won the Bronze Medal in the Long-Thibaud International Piano Competition in Paris, France. Originally from New York City, Michael had earned degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, Curtis and Julliard before coming to study at Park ICM. He is currently pursuing his Artist Diploma with Professor Ioudenitch.

Sergey Belyavsky in Geneva Switzerland in the finals of the Concours de Genève. Photo courtesy Park University

And just last month, alumna Laurel Gagnon won the Bronze Medal in the Elmar Oliveira International Violin Competition. Originally from New Hampshire, Laurel continues to come back to perform with Park in its annual signature event.

Meanwhile, Behzod, David and Kenny continue their stellar careers. Behzod released his second album in 2021 to rave reviews and this season has toured the world performing Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2, one of the most difficult pieces of the piano repertoire. He recently performed that work with the Kansas City Symphony and then one week later with The Cleveland Orchestra. David left Israel to become the Concertmaster of The Cleveland Orchestra, one of the top orchestras of the world. In his debut concert with TCO, he was joined by Behzod, who performed his Prokofiev concerto. Kenny’s debut solo album was released by Decca Gold in August 2017, as part of his Cliburn prize. And this year, Kenny recorded his first album with Steinway as part of his APA prizes. He currently resides in Madrid, Spain, where he became the Associate Professor of Piano for the Reina Sofia School of Music, one of the most prestigious conservatories in the world.

In fact, almost all of these Park ICM’s award-winners will be performing in that one-night classical music lovers’ dream at the Kauffman Center on March 11 in the annual event writer Paul Pattison called, “completely alluring.”

So, what’s next for Park ICM after the twentieth anniversary celebrations ? One thing is for certain. We can know that the masters will continue to bring world-class talent to Kansas City for all to enjoy. And Kansas City and the world now knows the secret.

CategoriesArts Consortium
KC Studio

KC Studio covers the performing, visual, cinematic and literary arts, and the artists, organizations and patrons that make Kansas City a vibrant center for arts and culture.

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