15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition gets underway in London

The first stage on the 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition – six-weeks of international auditions – got underway in London today with two UK pianists (BBC Young Musician of the Year 2014 Martin Bartlett, and Yuanfan Yang) and Russian pianist Alexander Panifilov.

The remaining London auditions at St Paul’s School in London SW13 run until Friday 6 January. The sessions are open to the public; no ticket required. Auditions run from 2.00-9.15pm. Check the Cliburn website for the running order.

After London, the audition jury travel to Hanover (8-11 January), Budapest (13-15 January), Moscow (18-20 January), Seoul (23-24 January), New York (8-12 February), concluding their tour in the competition’s spiritual home Fort Worth (15-18 February).

From 146 auditioned, thirty will perform a 45-minute recital including a commissioned work by Marc Andre Hamelin in the preliminary round. Twenty performers will go through to the quarter-final second round. Twelve competitors will be selected for the semi-final round, each performing a 60-minute recital and a Mozart piano concerto with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.

For those who progress through the gruelling selection process, the resulting six finalists play another concerto with the Fort Worth Symphony, plus a chamber work with the Brentano String Quartet. The winner gets $50,000, three years of Career Management including valuable mentoring and marketing support for the duration.

The competition is named after the first winner of the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in 1958. Cliburn’s landmark win resulted in a ticker-tape parade in his home country, catapulted the musician to ‘unheard of stardom for a classical music performer‘, and saw the man invited to perform at the White House by Ronald Reagan.

Medici.TV are live-streaming the competition from the preliminary round starting on 25 May 2017. The final round runs from 7-10 June 2017. There will be a tantalising 110 hours of content available come the final result.

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