Hannover ~ the half way point at the Hochschule auditions

The Hochschule in Hannover, one of Germany’s prestigious music conservatories, welcomed the Cliburn Screening Jury with a warm reception following a Press Conference which featured an interview of Richard for German television and interviews with Veda and Richard for German radio. The Hochschule has made a great effort to publicize this event which will fill the hall for the entire week; these lively posters are everywhere on campus.

Audiences crowd to see the schedules for the first day of afternoon and evening auditions.

Applicants are coming to Hanover for the auditions from many countries: Belgium, Canada, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Korea, Russia, Spain, Ukraine. This international representation gives much meaning to the spirit of the Cliburn ~ the power of cultural diplomacy.

All bundled up for the walk to the Hochschule. John is proud of his new hat, and Marcello sports a special sparkle ~ always!

On Tuesday, competitors showed off many composers, even though Chopin headed the list; in one evening there were performances of his Twelve Etudes ~ Opus 25 and Opus 10. The audiences are enthusiastic and applaud warmly, calling back their favorites for two or three bows. Thursday night, it was almost a full house, as many came to encourage ‘the home team’, Hannover Hochschule artists.

Richard tells Linda Engelhardt how much we appreciate all the arrangments and hospitalaity she made possible at the Hochschule for the Cliburn Auditions.

Richard tells Linda Engelhardt how much we appreciate the arrangements and hospitality she made possible at the Hochschule for the Cliburn Auditions.

Linda and Richard served together on the Executive Committee of the World Federation of International Competitions for many years. Linda is recently retired Executive Director of the Celle Violin Competition. She encouraged the Hochschule in Hannover to roll out the red carpet for the Cliburn. Wonderful success!

As a matter of protocol as Chairman of the Competition, it is not proper for me to comment on the performances. I am anxious not to show any preference that I shy away from taking photographs of applicants backstage or pacing the halls waiting to go on stage. However, I do want to note the high level of talent, the earnestness and desire of these young artists to communicate and to share their incredible gifts. There have been many memorable moments. I wish all could share in the experience. Alann

Shanghai ~ first day

Shanghai Conservatory of Music hosted a Press Conference for the Cliburn as it launches its first competition screening auditions in China. Interest focused on the webcast of competition in May-June, the process of selection of the jurors, the artwork for the competition, and the 3 years of engagements for the winners that accompany the prizes.

Veda Kaplinsky, Richard Dyer, John Giordano, Hung-Kuan Chen, Marcello Abbado ~ the Screening Jury ~ with Richard as they complete their orientation of the rules and procedures for the auditions. Before the first recitals at 8:00 Thursday evening, 15 January, the group went to the Yu Gardens for last-minute sightseeing and shopping before the arduous work begins.

Vendors in the square and in hundreds of stalls surrounding Yu Gardens

Vendors line the square and entice you from hundreds of stalls surrounding Yu Gardens. If you can’t find what you are looking for here, it doesn’t exist! The Gardens are amazing; 500 hundred years old, they have been restored several times and remain a place of inspiration and tranquility.

Today is the last day in the office before we take off. Richard and I need lots of help getting everything into a briefcase or suitcase ~ schedules, contact information, presents, cameras, computers and all the wires that power these wonderful machines. Diane and Pat and Janice know how to fit it together. Hope we still have room for the boots and gloves. We are leaving Fort Worth where it is a balmy 76 degrees and heading for much colder clime. Alann

The entire Cliburn staff is working feverishly to finalize preparations for the screening auditions which begin next week. Cliburn President, Richard Rodzinski, and Cliburn Chairman, Alann Sampson, will join Jury Chairman John Giordano, and Jurors Marcello Abbado, Hung-Kuan Chen, Richard Dyer, and Veda Kaplinsky in Shanghai – the first of 6 cities – to hear 155 applicants for the first phase of the Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. I will be the blogger for the journey and hope to send photos and news from each city. Follow our story. Alann