Van Cliburn International Piano Competition

The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition is an American piano competition, first held in 1962 in Fort Worth, Texas and hosted by the Van Cliburn Foundation. Initially held at Texas Christian University, the competition has been held at the Bass Performance Hall since 2001. The competition is named in honour of Van Cliburn, who won the first International Tchaikovsky Competition, in 1958.[1][2]

The Van Cliburn Competition is held once every four years, in the year following the United States presidential elections.[3] The winners and runners-up receive substantial cash prizes, plus concert tours at world-famous venues where they are able to perform pieces of their choice.[4] Whilst Cliburn was alive, he did not serve as a judge in the competition, provide financial support, or work in its operations.[5] However, he attended performances by competitors regularly and greeted them afterwards on occasion.[6]

Contestants draw lots for their performing place in the competition.[7] The competition began on-line audio streaming of the performances in 1997.[6] In 2009, the competition webcast all of the performances live for the first time in its history.[8]

Top prize winners

The competition consists up to three full recital programs, new work performance, chamber music, and two concertos for each competitor.

Winners of the top prize awarded in the given year (linking to the article about the given competition):

Year Gold Medalist Silver Medalist Bronze Medalist Other notable prizewinners
2017 Yekwon Sunwoo Kenneth Broberg Daniel Hsu
2013 Vadym Kholodenko Beatrice Rana Sean Chen
2009 Nobuyuki Tsujii
Haochen Zhang
Yeol Eum Son none
2005 Alexander Kobrin Joyce Yang Sa Chen
2001 Stanislav Ioudenitch
Olga Kern
Maxim Philippov
Antonio Pompa-Baldi
1997 Jon Nakamatsu Yakov Kasman Aviram Reichert
1993 Simone Pedroni Valery Kuleshov Christopher Taylor
1989 Alexei Sultanov José Carlos Cocarelli Benedetto Lupo
1985 José Feghali Philippe Bianconi Barry Douglas
1981 Andre-Michel Schub Panayis Lyras
Santiago Rodriguez
1977 Steven De Groote Alexander Toradze Jeffrey Swann
1973 Vladimir Viardo Christian Zacharias Michael James Houstoun
1969 Cristina Ortiz Minoru Nojima Mark Westcott
1966 Radu Lupu Barry Lee Snyder Blanca Uribe (es) Rudolf Buchbinder (Fifth Prize)
1962 Ralph Votapek Nikolai Petrov Mikhail Voskresensky

Amateur and Junior competitions

In 1999, the competition added an amateur edition, which allows high-performing pianists aged 35 or above to participate, provided that they do not earn their main source of income through piano pedagogy or performance. Amateur competitions have been held in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2011, and 2016. Originally, the 2016 Amateur Competition was to be held in 2015, but was canceled, due to the inauguration of a junior version of the Cliburn Competition, which attracts top-performing teenage piano students from around the globe. Like the regular Cliburn Competition, the amateur and junior competitions consist of solo rounds, followed by concerto performances with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in the finals.

See also


  1. Anthony Tommasini (2013-02-27). "Van Cliburn, Cold War Musical Envoy, Dies at 78". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-07-24.
  2. "1962 Cliburn Competition – The Cliburn". Retrieved 2017-06-12.
  3. Future competitions are scheduled thus for 2017, 2021, and so forth.
  4. Bernard Holland (1989-06-13). "After the Cliburn: A Career Still to Be Built". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-07-24.
  5. Bernard Holland (1989-03-27). "Van Cliburn: Man Behind the Contest". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-07-24.
  6. Christopher Kelly (2013-05-18). "With Cliburn Gone, Competition Tries to Adjust". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-07-24.
  7. Bernard Holland (2013-05-27). "Tensions on Eve of Cliburn Contest". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-07-24.
  8. Benjamin Ivry (2009-06-10). "What Was the Jury Thinking?". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2010-09-03.


Horowitz, Joseph (September 1990). The Ivory Trade: Music and the Business of Music at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition (1 ed.). Summit Books.

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