Trap Chamber Group
Artist By Last
Cliburn Competition Retrospective Series, Vol. 5 - 1985
Competition José Feghali,
Philippe Bianconi, Barry Douglas. Works by Haydn, Beethoven,
Chopin, Liszt, Ravel, Prokofiev
Van Cliburn International Competition
Every four years, Fort Worth, Texas, becomes the capital of the piano world with the running of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Founded in 1962 by a group of music teachers and enthusiasts to honor a fellow Texan and America’s most renowned pianist, the Cliburn Competition has steadily grown into one of the major musical events around the globe.
hundreds of hopefuls who apply for acceptance in the Cliburn, only
a select number are invited to Fort Worth to take part in a grueling
round of eliminations that little-by-little narrows the field to
the true value of any contest is calculated not in dollars but in
its winners, and through the years the Cliburn has nurtured such
leading keyboard figures as Steven De Groote, Barry Douglas, José Feghali,
Radu Lupu, Minoru Nojima, Cristina Ortiz, André-Michel Schub,
Alexander Toradze, Vladimir Viardo, and Christian Zacharias, among
others. This series of retrospective recordings from VAI captures
these gold, silver and bronze winners in contests past through live
performances taped during the heat of competing and drawn from the
Cliburn’s archives. Chamber music, though not reflected in this series,
is also a feature of the Cliburn. This requirement was added at the
specific request of Cliburn himself, who felt that it would provide
a sort of musical litmus test to detect aspects of a pianist’s talent
that might not emerge
Because the Cliburn is geared to launching careers instead of merely extending a helping hand, it eventually reached the mature decision to do away with specific repertory requirements. This allowed pianists to perform music with which they were the most comfortable and in which they felt they excelled. The directors of the competition were wise enough to realize that a great deal could be learned about a performer by how he chose to present himself or herself.
Today, the one exception to this rule is the commissioned work required of each competitor. Through the years, the composers of this special piece have amounted to a "Who’s Who" of modern American music, from Samuel Barber and Aaron Copland to William Schuman and Leonard Bernstein.
1997 marked the tenth edition of the Cliburn, and the tenth time the city of Fort Worth celebrated the act of making music by the musicians of tomorrow. The sense of adventure that permeates the city every four years is like a fever, as the excitement mounts and peaks in the naming of a new set of medalists. This is the end result for which so many work for so long and with such extraordinary devotion.
Schub, born in France and raised in New York, came to the Cliburn’s
Gold Medal after winning two other major awards: the Naumberg International
Piano Competition in 1977 and the Avery Fisher Recital Award in 1981.
He continues to be a strong presence on the American and
only time in the history of the Cliburn Competition that a medal
was split between two pianists was in 1981 when the Silver Medals
went to both Santiago Rodriguez and Panayis Lyras. Rodriguez, born
in Cuba and trained in the United States, has appeared in recent
seasons most prominently with Philadelphia Orchestra and in recital
at the Ravenna Festival in Italy. He has also become artist-in residence
at the University of Maryland and has served as president of the
jury for the
addition to his Cliburn prize, Lyras was also the Silver Medalist
in the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Israel
and first-prize winner in the Gina Bachauer International Competition.
John Ardoin is music critic of the Dallas Morning News and author of The Callas Legacy and The Furtwängler Record. He has attended all or part of every Cliburn Competition except for the first.