Wife of Cliburn-winning pianist charged with murdering their young daughters

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BENBROOK, TX –  A shocking twist to the tragic murders of two girls.

Police in Benbrook, near Fort Worth, now say their mother, Sofya Tsygankova, killed 5-year-old Nika and 1-year-old year old Michela Kholodenko. She’s the estranged wife of pianist Vadym Kholodenko.

Kholodenko found his daughters’ bodies last week when he went to pick them up from their mother.

She had several stab wounds, police now say were self-inflicted.

Police say Tsygankova is undergoing a mental evaluation.

Classical music fans say this is the latest in the so-called “Cliburn Curse.”

Kholodenko won the top prize in the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition held every four years in Fort Worth.

The murder of his daughters, apparently by their mother, makes Kholodenko the fourth prize winner in the last 40 year to suffer tragedy after winning the competition.

South African Steven De Groote won the prize in 1977.

He nearly died in a plane crash in 1985, but then died of complications related to aids in 1989 while on the faculty of Texas Christian University.

Alexai Sultanov of the Soviet Union, who won the gold medal in 1989, suffered a paralyzing stroke six years later, and died in his sleep in 2005.

And Brazilian Jose’ Feghali  who won the competition in 1985, was also on the Texas Christian faculty when he committed suicide in 2014.

Clearly, mastery of the piano keys does not guarantee the keys to happiness.

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