The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition was created after the late Van Cliburn’s victory at the inaugural Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow in 1958 as a means of perpetuating his unique legacy of effecting cultural diplomacy through classical music. The first competition was held in 1962. The Cliburn is now an innovative force in the classical music field and is a recognized leader in bringing live performances to audiences extending far beyond the concert hall.
The mission of the Cliburn is to advance classical piano music throughout the world. Its international competitions, education programs, and concert series embody an enduring commitment to artistic excellence and the discovery of young artists. It seeks to connect with audiences through all available media as well as educate new generations of listeners to help them discover and explore the wonder of classical music.
The Cliburn will host a dynamic multi-camera live webcast at Fort Worth’s Bass Performance Hall (May 24-June 9). The webcast will bring the Competition to life around the world in real time with over 110 hours of live broadcasts of performances, interview segments, and awards ceremonies over the 17-day period. The main focus of the webcast will be to bring to life each of the 30 young and gifted pianists through the live broadcasting of the three thrilling competition performance rounds, interactive live commentary, filmed profiles, as well as live and taped interviews with each competitor.
In 1997, the Cliburn began utilizing sophisticated Internet resources to stream the competition live online, extending its outreach to every corner of the globe. In 2009, web viewers enjoyed free real-time access to competition performances in their entirety, as well as to a fully produced webcast offering hours of educational and cultural content, backstage views of rehearsals, and the International Cultural Diplomacy Symposia.
There are significant changes to this year’s Cliburn. The preliminary round (through May 30) will have each pianist play two 45-minute solo recitals, rather than just one.
As in past years, the semifinal round will comprise a 60-minute solo recital and a piano quintet performance, this time with the Brentano String Quartet. A newly commissioned piece by Christopher Theofanidis will be required in the recital portion; in some previous years contestants were given a choice of new pieces.
In 2009, the final round required contestants to play one solo recital and two piano concertos — one from the classical period, one from the 19th or 20th century. This time, the round will comprise only the two piano concertos, with Leonard Slatkin conducting the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.