In 1958, a lanky kid from East Texas went to Moscow and did the unimaginable. Van Cliburn, just 23 at the time, won the first International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition, an event designed to demonstrate Soviet superiority during the height of the Cold War. Four years later, the inaugural Van Cliburn Piano Competition was held in Fort Worth, in honor of Mr. Cliburn. The quadrennial competition is recognized as one of the world’s most prestigious music contests.
In 1999, the Cliburn launched the first Amateur Competition in an effort “to celebrate the importance of making music even for those who don’t make it a career.” Every four years, outstanding nonprofessional pianists ages 35 and older from around the world and from all professions gather in Fort Worth to compete.
This year’s 69 competitors are from 19 countries, including the United States. They represent an incredible range of professions. Doctors, professors, nonprofit directors, engineers, homemakers; they all share a passion for music. DFW-area competitors include a doctor at Baylor Surgical Hospital at Las Colinas, a cell biologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, a technology executive from Murphy and a retired database programmer from Fort Worth who was the second-place finisher from the last competition.
The Amateur Competition consists of four rounds from Sunday, June 19 to Saturday, June 25. Children 8 and older are welcome. (What a great way to introduce your children to music or inspire a child who may not be overly excited about his piano lessons!) Tickets for the Preliminary, Quarterfinal, and Semifinal Rounds are general admission at Van Cliburn Recital Hall and range from $10 for the Preliminary Round to $20 for the Semifinal Round.
On Saturday, June 25, at 3 p.m., the Final Round and Awards Ceremony will be held at Bass Hall. The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra will accompany the six finalists with special guest conductor Damon Gupton. Fans of Empire and Bates Motel will recognize Gupton; not only is he an actor, he is a noted conductor.
Reserved tickets for the Final Round range from $10 to $60. The Cliburn is pleased to announce that we are offering the readers of TanglewoodMoms.com a special promotion code. Enter the promo code TANGLEWOOD for $15 orchestra-level seats for the Final Round and the Award Ceremony.