The Cliburn Competition Forges Ahead Without Its Namesake

Can the famous piano competition survive without Van Cliburn?
Mon May 20, 2013 10:30 pm
Van Cliburn playing in the third round of the Tchaikovsky Competition in the Great Hall of the Conservatory (Moscow, April 1958).

 

On May 22, thirty pianists from thirteen different countries, ranging in age from nineteen to thirty, will gather at a hotel ballroom in downtown Fort Worth for a drawing of names—an alternately fussy and homespun tradition that will establish the performance schedule for the fourteenth edition of the quadrennial Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.  

Two days later, the recitals and concerts will commence at Bass Performance Hall before a thirteen-member jury. The competition, which combines a little bit of American Idol and a whole lot of Liszt and Rachmaninoff, will cycle through three rounds and culminate on June 9 with the awarding of the victory medals.

Yet this year’s Cliburn will be different from the previous editions in one critical aspect: The

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