1st American Composers Invitational at Cliburn Competition



Van Cliburn Foundation

Original works by four American composers – C. Curtis-Smith, Lowell Liebermann, James Mobberley, and Judith Lang Zaimont – have been chosen by the competitors for possible performance during the Eleventh Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Each of the 12 contestants chosen for the semifinal round will be required to play one of the four works.

Each composer whose work is heard during the semifinal round of the upcoming Cliburn Competition, May 25-June 10, 2001 at Bass Performance Hall, will be awarded $2,500. The composer whose work is performed by the greatest number of semifinalists will be honored with an additional $5,000 grand prize.

The American Composers Invitational marks the first time in the history of the competition that the Van Cliburn Foundation has departed from its tradition of commissioning a single new work. This year, at the suggestion of John Corigliano, a 25-member nominating committee of distinguished musicians issued invitations to 42 noted American composers to submit solo piano scores 8 to 12 minutes in length. Thirty-one scores were submitted.

The selection process moved forward last December, when five of the submitted scores were picked by Mr. Corigliano and Yale University professor and composer Martin Bresnick for final consideration. Each of the 30 pianists examined the scores, the composers of which were not identified, and chose one work to include in the repertoire for their semifinal performance. Only those composers whose works are performed by the dozen semifinalists of the Eleventh Van Cliburn International Piano Competition will be eligible for the cash prizes.

Van Cliburn Foundation President Richard Rodzinski calls the Composers Invitational “an opportunity to encourage a wider variety of American composers to write new works for the piano.”

“The key role played by performers in determining what repertoire is actually heard has often been overlooked,” says Mr. Rodzinski. “Anticipating that outstanding pianists will choose outstanding works, we believe this innovative format will give audiences the opportunity to hear excellent new American compositions on an international stage. It makes it more likely that the pianists will include these works in their future performances.”