Performing Arts

Cliburn makes big announcement about its junior competition

The first Cliburn Junior award winners Arsenii Mun, 16, of Russia, (second place), Alim Beisembayev, 17, of Kazakhstan, (first place) and Youlan Ji, 16, of China, (third place) pose with jury chairman Jon Nakamatsu after the first Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival, held in Fort Worth in June 2015.
The first Cliburn Junior award winners Arsenii Mun, 16, of Russia, (second place), Alim Beisembayev, 17, of Kazakhstan, (first place) and Youlan Ji, 16, of China, (third place) pose with jury chairman Jon Nakamatsu after the first Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival, held in Fort Worth in June 2015. The Cliburn

The Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival is saying goodbye to Fort Worth.

On Wednesday, the Cliburn announced that the second edition of its junior competition (which was previously held on the TCU campus) is scheduled to take place May 31-June 8, 2019, in Dallas.

“One key to continuing the Cliburn’s strategic advancement is to continuously reach a broader community, both around the world and in our own back yard,” said Jacques Marquis, president and CEO of the Van Cliburn Foundation. “We are pleased to be presenting the second edition of this still-new program in Dallas in 2019, and believe it will expose the Cliburn to a greater audience base in the region, as well as bring fantastic new partnerships with SMU, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and more to come.”

The first three rounds of competition, as well as festival events, will be held on the SMU campus, where the 24 competitors also will reside. Final-round performances featuring the three finalists performing full concertos with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra will take place at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. A conductor for the orchestra has yet to be named.

Alessio Bax, SMU artist-in-residence and winner of both the Leeds and Hamamatsu International Piano Competitions, will serve as jury chairman for the competition. At this time, no other jurors have been announced.

“It’s a great privilege for the Meadows School of the Arts at SMU to host this world-class event,” said Samuel Holland, dean of Meadows. “Music performance at the highest level has been part of SMU since its earliest days and the new partnership with the Cliburn will extend that legacy.”

Michelle Miller Burns, interim president and CEO of the Dallas Symphony Association, also expressed her excitement for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s new involvement with the Cliburn.

“The Dallas Symphony Orchestra is delighted to partner with the Cliburn on the junior competition,” said Miller Burns. “The DSO is looking forward to welcoming this youngest generation of concert pianists to Dallas and to the Meyerson stage.”

Established in 2015, the Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival takes place every four years and is designed to attract the world’s next generation of top pianists. Competitors, who must be between the ages of 13 and 17, are selected by a screening jury through online applications and video submissions. The event includes four rounds of competition, and the top three competitors receive cash prizes and scholarships, plus community residency and mentorship opportunities with the Cliburn.

Tickets to attend the competition will go on sale in early 2019.

The future of the Cliburn

With the junior competition heading to the Big D next year, does that mean the Cliburn could be getting ready to shed its Cowtown roots completely? Marquis, who joined the foundation in 2012, is quick to assure that’s not the case.

“Fort Worth was Van Cliburn’s home and is the Cliburn’s permanent home. It will, in perpetuity, play host to the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition,” Marquis said. “We have no intention of lessening our presence in Fort Worth; in fact, we have been increasing our programs in our hometown. Our offices are in downtown Fort Worth; our concert series are held in Fort Worth; our education program visits every elementary school in Fort Worth each year; and our community partnerships have never been stronger, including those with longtime, cherished collaborators TCU and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.”

The 16th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition is scheduled to take place May 28-June 12, 2021, at Bass Hall in Fort Worth. Additional details will be announced later this year.

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