To put it mildly, the listening experience at the Twelfth Van Cliburn Piano Competition, held in 2005, was intense. But it was one of my greatest experiences ever.
Portland Piano International will again host a group of up to 40 piano lovers to the Semifinal Round of the Thirteenth Van Cliburn Competition May 27 - June 1 in Fort Worth, Texas. This round takes place over a four-day period, and provides the opportunity to hear the twelve remarkable young artists chosen for this round striving to communicate their very best, and thereby gain a place in the Final Round.
One of my favorite parts of the competition was hearing the five commissioned works for the competition. Repeated performances of these new works really gives the listener a chance to get to know them well. My favorite of the group was Ruth Schonthal’s Sonata quasi un’improvvisazione. Schonthal, a former student of Paul Hindemith, died the following year at the age of 81.
A real joy for us was hearing each of these Semifinalists performing the great piano quintets of our repertoire – Brahms, Schumann, Dvorak, and the lesser-known Cesar Frank, with the great Takács Quartet.
To give some idea of the importance of the Cliburn Competition, PPI has presented the following Laureates of the competition since 1978:
Ralph Votapek, Cécile Ousset, Radu Lupu, Mark Westcott, Vladimir Viardo, Steven De Groote, Jeffrey Swann, André-Michel Schub, Panayis Lyras, Santiago Rodriguez, Jeffrey Kahane, Christopher O’Riley, José Feghali, Philippe Bianconi, Barry Douglas, Emma Tahmiziàn, Alexei Sultanov, Simone Pedroni, Christopher Taylor, Jon Nakamatsu, Katia Skanavi, Stanislav Ioudenitch, Olga Kern, Antonio Pompa-Baldi, Davide Cabassi, Roberto Plano, Joyce Yang and Alexander Kobrin.
A few places remain for the exceptional event sponsored by Portland Piano International. For information and a registration form, visit our home page at portlandpiano.org