An Introduction to the Van Cliburn Foundation and the 2006 MTNA National Conference Artists
Rodzinski, Richard, American Music Teacher
Personal cultivation begins with poetry, is strengthened by rules of decorum and is perfected by music.
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, [light to the imagination, and life to everything.
The Van Cliburn Foundation
From the birth of philosophy in the world's great cultures, music has been recognized as essential in shaping individuals and making them more sensitive, thus nurturing a humane citizenry.
It was with this understanding, as well as the wish to honor Van Cliburn, who embodies in every way the rewards that a life devoted to music-making at the highest levels of artistry can bring, that the Van Cliburn Foundation was created in 1960. Its mission statement reads:
"The Van Cliburn Foundation identifies and promotes the finest talent in classical music worldwide through piano competitions, concerts, and education programs." The Foundation fulfills this mission by conducting the quadrennial Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, widely considered to be the world's preeminent piano competition, and organizing the International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, the first of its kind in the United States. The Foundation also produces the annual Cliburn Concerts series, which brings world-renowned classical musicians to the Metroplex, as well as the Cliburn at the Modern series, designed to build audiences for new music. Finally, the Foundation offers interactive educational programs to benefit area students in cooperation with the Fort Worth Independent School District.
The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition is now regarded as the event that offers the most significant opportunities for aspiring musicians to be heard by audiences throughout the United States and abroad. Three stages of competition comprise the rigorous and comprehensive two-and-a-half week event. Following the preliminary round, during which the 30 pianists invited to Fort Worth each perform a recital, 12 semi-finalists collaborate with the Takacs Quartet, in addition to performing a second recital. Six finalists each perform two different concert with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, conducted by James Conlon, and play a third solo recital.
The most significant prizes bestowed by the Foundation are not the cash awards and medals. Instead, the Foundation offers its winners what they seek most: help launching their careers by means of three years of internationally managed concert tours, along with award-winning television documentaries, commercial recordings on the harmonia mundi label and an internationally syndicated 26-part radio series dedicated to the competition and its most memorable performances. By making the competition available in its entirety live on the Internet, streaming both audio and video, the Foundation has extended its outreach to listeners in every corner of the globe.
Stanislav Ioudeniteh: Master of Suspense
Of the hundreds of applications the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition receives seven months before each competition, approximately 140 pianists are selected to be scheduled in 40-minute public concerts in half-a-dozen cities throughout Europe and America. These concerts are attended by an unchanging five-member jury who are asked to select 30 pianists to invite to compete in Fort Worth.
For the 1997 competition, one of the sites was the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan. We listened to a number of very fine pianists, several of whom came from the nearby town of Cadenabbia, where an American teacher, William Nabore, hosts a hand-picked number of extraordinary young pianists who are allowed to reside and practice in a beautiful villa on Lake Como, and who attend master classes presented by some of the music world's major luminaries. One cold January day during the Milan screenings, an unforgettable flurry took place back stage. …