Van Cliburn

What’s new and notable at the 2016 Cliburn Amateur

Christopher Shih, holds up the first-place trophy as Van Cliburn looks on at the close of the Sixth International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs on the TCU campus on May 29, 2011.
Christopher Shih, holds up the first-place trophy as Van Cliburn looks on at the close of the Sixth International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs on the TCU campus on May 29, 2011. Star-Telegram

It’s been five years since the last Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition, and a few things have changed. Here’s what to know before you go (and go to the wrong place).

When and where: The competition takes place over seven days, Sunday-June 25, at Van Cliburn Recital Hall (330 E. Fourth St.) and Bass Hall (Fourth and Calhoun streets) in downtown Fort Worth. Do not go to TCU, as you have in years past. You’ll likely hear some lovely music coming from the PianoTexas festival, but it won’t be from Cliburn Amateur competitors.

Only the final round, on June 25, takes place at Bass Hall, so if you show up there on Day 1 and the door is locked, walk across the street to the Maddox-Muse Center. There you’ll find Van Cliburn Recital Hall.

The Cliburn recommends patrons park in the Sundance Square garage on Calhoun, between Third and Fourth streets. You’ll have to pay an hourly rate during the day on weekdays. It’s free after 5 p.m. on weekdays and weekends.

Competition schedule: Here’s another change — there now are four rounds of competition. As of press time, 69 pianists had been accepted to play. That means through four rounds over seven days, there will be 117 performances . Here’s how it all breaks down:

Preliminary round: Sunday-Monday

  • Sixty-nine pianists will perform a recital 8-10 minutes long. The schedule is the same for both days. The morning concert takes place 10:30 a.m. to about 1:10 p.m.; afternoon concert takes place 3 p.m. to about 5:40 p.m.; and evening concert takes place 7 p.m. to about 9:30 p.m.
  • Want to choose some favorites to root for? Find competitors’ bios, repertoire and the order of play at Cliburn.org.
  • Tickets are $10 per concert (so, $30 each full day); Van Cliburn Recital Hall.
  • Quarterfinalists will be announced about 9:50 p.m. Monday.

Quarterfinal round: Tuesday-Wednesday

  • Thirty pianists will perform a recital 15-18 minutes long. The schedule is the same for both days. The afternoon concert takes place 2 p.m. to about 5:10 p.m.; evening concert takes place 7 p.m. to about 9:35 p.m.
  • Tickets are $15 per concert; Van Cliburn Recital Hall.
  • Semifinalists will be announced about 10 p.m. Wednesday.

Semifinal round: Thursday

  • Twelve pianists will perform a recital 25-28 minutes long. The afternoon concert takes place 2 p.m. to about 5:30 p.m.; evening concert takes place 7 p.m. to about 10:30 p.m.
  • Tickets are $20 per concert; Van Cliburn Recital Hall.
  • Finalists will be announced about 11 p.m. There is no playing Friday.

Final round: Saturday

  • For the first time at the Cliburn Amateur, six pianists will perform one movement of a concerto with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. Conductor Damon Gupton — yes, that Damon Gupton, the actor from Bates Motel and Law & Order, will be on the podium. One concert will take place, 3-5:30 p.m.
  • The final round will be broadcast on classical radio station WRR-101.1.
  • Tickets are $10-$60 and include admission to the awards ceremony; Bass Hall.
  • Winners will be announced about 6:30 p.m. on the Bass Hall stage.

Who’s judging: Olga Kern, 2001 Cliburn co-gold medalist, will serve as jury chairwoman. Kern will oversee a jury of professional pianists and teachers from around the world: Akemi Alink-Yamamoto (Japan), Angela Cheng (Canada), Catharine Lysinger (United States), Fali Pavri (India), Andre-Michel Schub (United States) and Nelita True (United States).

What’s at stake: In a word, cash. First prize is $2,000; second prize, $1,500 and third prize, $1,000.

In addition, $500 cash awards will be given as jury discretionary awards, as well as for best performance of works in the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Post-Romantic eras and for most creative programming.

A press award (a “Western Prize Package”) will be voted on by classical music journalists covering the event.

And an audience award (tickets to the finals of next year’s Van Cliburn International Piano Competition) will be determined by online audience vote. (Vote once per day for your favorite remaining competitors throughout the competition at Cliburn.org.)

How to get tickets: Tickets can be purchased at Cliburn.org, by calling 817-212-4280 or in person at the event.

Can kids come? Children must be at least 8 years old to attend performances.

What’s online: All of it and more. All the performances will be broadcast live on Cliburn.org and streamed through Star-Telegram.com. The webcast, hosted by pianist Shields-Collins Bray, will include on-camera interviews with key people connected to the competition. The videos will be made available on demand, too. A documentary about this competition is not being filmed.

Get social: Turn on those phones! (Not during the live performances, of course.) Use the hashtag #CliburnAmateur on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube and talk among yourselves.

Follow the coverage: The Star-Telegram will cover the entire competition. Read reviews, news and notes on a dedication competition page at www.star-telegram.com/news/special-reports/van-cliburn. Follow us on Twitter (@STFeatures) and like us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/startelegram).

Other events: A number of non-competition events are free and open to the public. While they will not be webcast live, they will be available later for on-demand viewing.

  • Jury Symposium, 10-11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Van Cliburn Recital Hall. Competition jurors will talk about evaluating pianists, preparation, practice and more.
  • Music and Health Panel, 10-11:30 a.m. Thursday, Van Cliburn Recital Hall. Experts from the UNT Texas Center for Performing Arts Health will talk about health as it relates to music practice and performance.
  • Open Piano Night, 5-10:30 p.m. Friday at Live Oak Music Hall & Lounge (1311 Lipscomb St., Fort Worth). It’s like open mic night for pianists. Grab a beer and listen to the competitors and jurors (that means you, Olga Kern!) do their thing in a laid-back setting.
  • Conversation with Olga Kern, 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday, Van Cliburn Recital Hall. Bray will host a chat with Kern about life as one of the world’s most sought-after concert pianists.

Source: The Cliburn

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