Cliburn Competition Postponed


Due to pandemic-related challenges, the 16th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition has been moved to 2022; other Cliburn contests also change.

by TJ Staff

published Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Fort Worth — Big pandemic news regarding the biggest international arts event in North Texas, the Cliburn’s quadriennial International Piano Competition. It is being moved back a year, from 2021 to 2022; and that changes the timing of the other Cliburn competitions, too, for this cycle only.

Below is the full news release:

  • national Junior Piano Competition and Festival

Details for the Amateur and Junior Competitions to be announced as venue and other confirmations are made. 

The Cliburn announces today that the 16th edition of its flagship Van Cliburn International Piano Competition will now be held June 2–18, 2022, at Bass Performance Hall and Van Cliburn Concert Hall at TCU, in Fort Worth, Texas, USA. The Competition was previously slated for May 27–June 12, 2021.

The Cliburn Competition is a once-every-four-years opportunity for us to showcase exceptional artists to the world, to bring the international classical music community together in Fort Worth, to create a singular event for our hometown, and, in the end, to launch careers. It’s become clear in recent months that the continuing effects of the pandemic will prevent us from producing an event at the level and with the impact that our patrons, our supporters, and—most importantly—our competitors deserve. Now, with a clear path forward, we can plan a Competition that will achieve new heights and be a fitting celebration of international strength and unity after such challenging times.

We look forward to celebrating with you in 2022, and, in the meantime, watch for upcoming announcements that will offer opportunities to connect with the Cliburn and with stellar artists in the coming months.

No action is necessary for patrons who have already purchased tickets for the 2021 Cliburn Competition; their purchase will automatically transfer to the postponed dates. Premium subscriptions remain on sale and are available HERE. Other subscription packages and individual tickets will go on sale in 2021.

The Cliburn’s competition cycle will change, for this period only, to:

  • June 2–18, 2022 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
  • Fall 2022 Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition

June 2023 Cliburn Intere.

2017 Cliburn gold medalist Yekwon Sunwoo – Photo: Ralph Lauer

The Cliburn decided to postpone the Competition, a first since the organization’s inception in 1962, citing the following:

Social distancing and safety protocols for in-person events – the vibrancy of the Cliburn Competition is built around the energy of the audience. Though the Cliburn is a leader in classical music webcasting, the in-person atmosphere is an element that also sets it apart; the competitors remember the warmth of patrons in Fort Worth for many years after. The health of the patrons is of utmost importance, and postponing will offer the opportunity to safely gather.

International travel – the international nature of the Competition is foundational, and it is uncertain if people from all around the globe (competitors, attendees, press) will be able to or feel comfortable with traveling to Texas in 2021.

Winners’ touring – The primary goal of the Competition is the launch of careers. Doing so at a time when concert tours have been suspended is not in the best interest of the new winners.

Planning uncertainty – the planning of the Competition is a complex, multiyear process, which is obviously hindered by the unpredictability of the pandemic globally.



  • October 14, 2021 |Application submission deadline
  • March 6–12, 2022 | Screening Auditions*
  • March 30, 2022 | Announcement of competitors to the public
  • June 2, 2022 | Competition begins
  • June 18, 2022 | Awards ceremony

* For the first time, the Screening Auditions will be held in the Cliburn’s hometown, Fort Worth, Texas. Seventy-two applicants will be chosen to perform a 25-minute recital in front of a live audience and the Screening Jury. From those, 30 will be selected to return to Fort Worth in June to compete.

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