The 15th Van Cliburn Piano Competition starts up this week.

Once again it’s time for the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The 15th installment of our friendly neighborhood global cultural event comes to Bass Hall once again, with 30 competitors from all over the world looking to claim gold and/or a place in our hearts.

This year’s format will be different. The contestants will still play a first-round recital, but only one instead of two (as with four years ago), after which they’ll be winnowed down to 20 quarterfinalists. Another recital will produce 12 semifinalists. Then a third recital and a performance of a Mozart concerto will halve that number into six finalists. The chamber music section of the competition has been moved to the final round, and the finalists will also play a concerto of their choice with Leonard Slatkin returning to conduct the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.

In addition, there’ll be lectures, master classes, and a semi-staged musical about Van Cliburn. If you can’t make it to downtown Fort Worth, your local movie theater may very well broadcast the final round as well. With so many ways to catch the action, you don’t want to be left out.


The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition runs May 25-Jun 10 at Bass Performance Hall, 555 Commerce St, FW. Tickets to performances are $10-3,000, festival events are free. Call 817-212-4280