“A celebration of music, and the people who have to make music, no matter what,”(The Boston Globe) the Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition (formerly the International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs™) is open to non-professional pianists age 35 and older who do not derive their principal source of income through piano performance or instruction. Established in 1999 as the first of its kind in the United States, the quadrennial festival promotes lifelong music-making as a vital part of daily life and draws more than 70 competitors.
Many past Amateur Competition participants have, at one time in their lives, received advanced piano degrees; others have never studied the piano professionally. Amateur Competition prizes have been awarded both to those with extensive public performing experience, as well as to those who have spent many hours playing mostly for their own enjoyment or for the pleasure of friends, family, and their local community. All, however, are united by their love of classical music and of sharing this passion with others of like mind.
The Seventh Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition will take place June 19–25, 2016, in Fort Worth, Texas in Van Cliburn Recital Hall (330 E. 4th Street) and Bass Performance Hall (4th & Commerce Streets). 2001 Cliburn Gold Medalist and major concert artist Olga Kern will serve as jury chairman, and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra will perform with each of the six finalists under the baton of acclaimed conductor Andrés Franco. Competition performances will be webcast live at Cliburn.org.
“We are proud to carry on this rich tradition of encouraging outstanding amateur pianists with this top-level contest, which the Cliburn began in 1999,” said Cliburn President and CEO Jacques Marquis. “We are continuously evaluating each of our programs with an eye on keeping them fresh and serving our audiences the best way possible. In that spirit, we have made some adjustments for this seventh edition of the Amateur Competition. We’ll see some shifts in the repertoire requirements, most remarkably in the Final Round, where the finalists will have the chance to perform on the Bass Hall stage with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and Andrés Franco. And we proudly welcome the inimitable Olga Kern as jury chairman. One of today’s leading pianists, Olga is a special part of the Cliburn family who has a passion for amateur artists and has served on this jury in previous competitions.”
Applications will be open online beginning March 19, 2015, and will be due March 1, 2016. Applicants must be at least 35 years of age as of June 19, 2016. Applicants should be those who play piano for pleasure and for dedication to the instrument and its repertoire; they may not perform, teach, or compose piano music for their primary professional pursuit or financial benefit. The 72 pianists invited to compete in Fort Worth will be chosen through online applications, including a 15–20 minute video audition. Competitors will be announced April 1, 2016. Complete rules and requirements can be found in the links to the right.
Competitors will be responsible for their own travel and housing arrangements. Practice facilities and instruments will be available for all competitors during the week of the Competition. Several social events, as well as opportunities for chamber music collaboration, community performances, and symposia, will be organized during the course of the Competition.