Starting Today: The First Van Cliburn Competition without Cliburn

The 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition - the first since the death of the competition's namesake - takes place May 24-June 9 in Fort Worth, Texas.(Photo: alexanderward12 (Flickr))
The 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition - the first since the death of the competition's namesake - takes place May 24-June 9 in Fort Worth, Texas.(Photo: alexanderward12 (Flickr))

View the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in real time.

The February 2013 death of pianist Van Cliburn marked the end of an era. No longer was the charismatic pianist, whose Cold War-era win at the 1958 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow no less became the stuff of legend, in our midst.

But the artist’s death also marked the beginning of a new phase in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition’s history, as the elite quadrennial contest moves forward without its namesake. The New York Times reports that the competition’s leadership is considering making some changes in how they do things, from allowing audience voting in addition to scoring by the competition’s judges, to adding behind-the-scenes web features and other online content in order to expand the competition’s visibility. Some have said such changes should be considered in order to bring the Van Cliburn Competition up to date with peer competitions that have more quickly embraced changes in the media landscape.

Whatever changes might be afoot, the standard of piano playing will likely remain astronomical, as 30 of the finest up-and-coming pianists in the world battle over the next two weeks for a chance at an international concert career.

Read more: With Cliburn Gone, Competition Tries to Adjust (NYT)

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