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Young artists

Video on demand: Cliburn Kids with Buddy Bray: Piano Gymnastic - Black KeysKids event

Recorded at Steinway Studio, Fort Worth, TX, United States
Free to view

Watch how pianists work out at the piano! Can you make music using only the five black keys?


Buddy Bray is co-author of the Cliburn in the Classroom programs and has been hosting the presentations in schools for over 17 years, and he says it is the most enjoyable work he does.

When he is not in the schools talking about music, Buddy serves as artistic director of the Cliburn at the Modern series and is the principal keyboardist for the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. He 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.

Buddy comes from a family of teachers, and he is glad to be carrying on the family tradition.


Since his orchestral debut at age 11, pianist Alex McDonald has performed extensively across North America and Asia, both in recital and with orchestras. A participant at the 2013 Cliburn Competition, he has won several competition prizes and fellowships throughout the United States.

He has taught at Texas Woman’s University, Richland College, and The Juilliard School, and private students have gone on to study at top conservatories and perform at Carnegie Hall. He was recognized for his accomplishments as an educator with the 2017 Outstanding Achievement Award in teaching by the Texas Music Teachers Association.  He is also festival director for Basically Beethoven, a thriving summer concert series in Dallas.

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