Van Cliburn Blog

Cliburn begins its amazing race around the world toward 2017 competition

Cliburn auditions begin in London

The international piano competition begins May 25 in Fort Worth, but the screening jury is traveling to London and beyond to listen to some of the world's best young pianists to see which ones will make the cut.
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The international piano competition begins May 25 in Fort Worth, but the screening jury is traveling to London and beyond to listen to some of the world's best young pianists to see which ones will make the cut.

Editor’s note: Cliburn CEO Jacques Marquis is blogging for Star-Telegram readers exclusive news and notes from the 2017 competition screening auditions, which started in London and will conclude in Fort Worth next month.

Hello, everyone. I am delighted once again to have the opportunity to share with you the Cliburn competition screening auditions live tour. Over the next six weeks, we will listen to 146 pianists from 28 countries to choose the 30 pianists that will come to Fort Worth in May to compete for gold.

In the upcoming weeks, I will let you know about our experience with these screening auditions and the cities that we are in, as well as 2017’s changes to the competition format, the career management plan and the new initiatives for the competition in Fort Worth and around the world.

To make this competition successful, we have to recruit and identify the pianists with an exceptional course. This will take three main steps: 1) The application process 2) the live screening auditions 3) the competition in Fort Worth.

We received 290 applications this year (up from 167 in 2013) and, for the first time, we used video to evaluate the candidates. We also looked at their written applications, résumé, accomplishments, etc. Three jury members — Lydia Artymiw, Angela Cheng, and Anton Nel — reviewed all applications and listened to all the videos, and recommended 146 candidates for the live screening auditions.

We have five screening jury members — Janina Fialkowska (Canada/Poland), Pamela Mia Paul (United States), Dmitri Alexeev (Russia), Michel Beroff (France) and Jamie Parker (Canada) — who will listen to those pianists in London (Jan. 4-6), Hanover, Germany (Jan. 8-11), Budapest (Jan. 13-15), Moscow (Jan. 18-20), Seoul (Jan. 23-24), New York (Feb. 8-12) and Fort Worth (Feb. 15-18) over the next six weeks.

The process is a gigantic funnel to find and launch the career of exceptional young pianists. We are looking, on every stage, for a unique voice, talent, stamina, personality, etc.

We began the auditions on Wednesday in London, and we took the opportunity to have a launch event with U.K.-based press, industry professionals, and artists — in coordination with WildKat PR, a public relations firm in London, Berlin, and New York that is working with us this year to promote the Cliburn on the world stage.

Carnet de voyage: The day before the first audition, a jury member was missing — he had missed his plane. Fortunately, we were able to book him on another plane, and he made it on time for the first candidate. I will not tell you who it was, just that he is Canadian …

Stay tuned.

A look back at the life and accomplishments of legendary pianist Van Cliburn (1934-2013). Video by Clif Bosler/Star-Telegram

2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition

  • May 25-June 10, Bass Hall
  • Screening auditions: Feb. 15-18, PepsiCo Recital Hall, TCU
  • For tickets and more information, visit www.Cliburn.org
  • Social media: @TheCliburn, #Cliburn2017.
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