Deadline: 15/10/2020
Location: Fort Worth, Texas USA
Disciplines: Piano
From: 27/05/2021 To: 12/06/2021
Age limit: 17-30


  1. The Sixteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition will be held in Fort Worth, Texas, from May 27 to June 12, 2021, under the auspices of the Cliburn.
  2. In some cases foreign competitors will need visas. Applicants should consult the nearest American Embassy or Consulate for advice.
  3. Competitors must not have any professional or other commitments during the time of the Competition, beginning with orientation and piano selection, which will take place starting on May 24. No exceptions will be allowed.
  4. All competitors accepted to the Competition will be provided a complimentary economy-class round-trip airplane ticket to Fort Worth.
  5. Competitors will be provided with accommodation and practice facilities between May 23 and June 13, 2021. Competitors will be responsible for their own accommodations on any days falling outside of this time period. Competitors who are not participating in the Quarterfinal, Semifinal, or Final Rounds of the Competition are not required to stay until the end of the Competition, although they are strongly encouraged to do so. Any cost incurred by changing dates of travel will be at the competitor’s expense. Accommodation is offered only to competitors accepted to the Competition and their spouses, and not to any other accompanying people.
  6. Medalists will be asked to be available for up to seven (7) days following the Competition, as determined by the Cliburn, for meetings, press, and other related matters the Cliburn deems necessary.
  7. All information contained in this document was correct at the time of publication. However, the Cliburn reserves the right to make changes if circumstances dictate.


October 15, 2020–Application submission deadline
December 4, 2020–Final notification of acceptance or non-acceptance for Screening Auditions
January 2021–Screening Auditions in Asia and Europe
February 2021–Screening Auditions in the United States
March 4, 2021–Final notification of acceptance or non-acceptance of competitors
April 1, 2021–Last day to make repertoire or running order changes
May 24, 2021–Orientation and piano selection begins
May 27, 2021–Competition begins
June 12, 2021–Awards Ceremony


The Sixteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition is open to pianists of all nationalities. First-prize winners of previous editions of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition are not eligible to compete. Applicants must have been born after June 12, 1990, and on or before May 27, 2003.


  1. Applicants must have been born after June 12, 1990, and on or before May 27, 2003.
  2. All applications must be completed and submitted through the online system.
  3. All applications are due by 11:59 p.m. CDT / GMT-6 on Thursday, October 15, 2020. No late or partial applications will be accepted.
  4. All applicants must submit a nonrefundable application fee of $125 US, payable through the online application system.
  5. Applications will include uploads of:
    • 35–40 minute video performance (Please note: videos should not exceed 4 GB per file)
    • Birth certificate or equivalent proof of age
    • High resolution color photographs (300 dpi or higher), including one headshot and one horizontal image, suitable for publicity purposes
    • Copies of any press reviews or articles from the past five seasons
  6. Applicants must submit contact information for four musicians as references. Two of your references will be sent an automated email requesting their recommendation materials when you submit your application. Recommendations are due by November 1, 2020.
  7. An acknowledgment will be sent to each applicant upon receipt of the completed Application Form and enclosures. Applicants will not be allowed to submit unless all information is complete.
  8. Applicants should retain copies of all materials sent with their applications. The Cliburn will accept no responsibility for applications not received.
  9. All applications will be reviewed by a selection committee and treated as confidential. The Cliburn reserves the right to request additional information from or about an applicant. All applicants will be notified by December 4, 2020, whether or not they have been accepted to perform in a screening audition.


  1. The Screening Audition schedule will be announced to the public on December 15, 2020. The Screening Auditions will be held in designated cities in Asia, Europe, and the United States during January and February 2021. Each applicant accepted for a screening audition is required to give a 40-minute recital before a live audience and the screening jury. Video recordings of performances by those applicants unable to attend the live Screening Auditions will be accepted only under special circumstances such as illness during the scheduled audition or prohibitive travel costs, at the discretion of the president of the Cliburn.
  2. A travel allowance will be provided to those applicants accepted for screening auditions for travel to and from the audition sites closest to their current residence under the following conditions:
    • Surface public transportation (train, bus, or car) must exceed four hours from place of residence to audition site.
    • Cost of transportation (economy or second class) must exceed $150 US for the round trip.
    • Allowance does not cover transportation to or from airport, train station, etc. Allowance does not cover accommodations or meal expenses.
  3. If the above conditions are met, the Cliburn will reimburse the applicant the excess of expense for transportation over $150 US but not to exceed a total reimbursement of $350 US. The request and submission of a copy of the ticket must be received by the Cliburn by March 31, 2021, in order for the applicant to collect reimbursement. Payments of travel allowance will be made between April 1, 2021 and April 30, 2021.
  4. All applicants will be notified whether or not they have been accepted for the Competition no later than March 4, 2021. The 30 selected pianists will be announced to the public immediately thereafter.


  1. The Competition will consist of four separate rounds: Preliminary, Quarterfinal, Semifinal, and Final. Preliminary and Quarterfinal Rounds will be held at Van Cliburn Concert Hall on the campus of TCU, and the Semifinal and Final Rounds will take place at Bass Performance Hall.
  2. The jury will advance 18 pianists to the Quarterfinal Round, 12 to the Semifinal Round, and 6 to the Final Round.
  3. The order of appearance of pianists in the Preliminary Round will be determined by a drawing. The Preliminary and Quarterfinal Rounds of Competition will follow this order except for reasons of accident, illness, or other unusual circumstances, at the discretion of the president of the Cliburn. The order of appearance in the Semifinal and Final Rounds will depend on rehearsal scheduling, program content, and administrative requirements, and may vary from that of the Preliminary and Quarterfinal Rounds. All phases of the Competition will be open to the public.
  4. A selection of pianos will be provided for the pianists’ performances in each venue. Time will be assigned to each pianist to choose his or her preferred instrument beginning May 24, 2021. Pianists will be notified of these assigned times.
  5. It is anticipated that all rounds of the Competition will be broadcast live and recorded for subsequent broadcast, video, or audio recording use. It is anticipated that a CD and/or digital album of selected Competition performances will be commercially produced, that a documentary of the Competition incorporating selected performances will be produced for television, DVD/Blu-ray, online streaming, and/or other platforms now known or hereafter invented. Camera crews may record and/or photograph all Competition events. Neither the Cliburn nor its assignees or licensees may be held liable for any payments to pianists arising out of materials derived from Competition performances. Applicants are required to sign a release form yielding all rights on such materials to the Cliburn, its assignees, or its licensees.
  6. Pianists may not contact or speak with any member of the jury while they are still active in the Competition. Any violation of this rule may disqualify the pianist.


  1. Total performance times include applause and pauses, and will be strictly enforced. The jury retains the right to stop a performance if the pianist exceeds the allotted time. Repeats are at the discretion of the pianist.
  2. All works must be performed by memory, except for the commissioned work. A page turner will be provided as needed.
  3. If requested, pianists must supply the Cliburn with a copy of the edition of the score used in the preparation of each work performed.
  4. The commissioned work will be sent to selected competitors no later than March 25, 2021.


  1. The prizes and awards specified on the Cliburn website will constitute the only prizes and awards of the Sixteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. No other prizes, awards, or remuneration will be permitted, except by express decision of the Cliburn. Prizes will be announced and listed on the Cliburn website in January 2020. They are subject to change at the discretion of the Cliburn.
  2. Taxes will be deducted from prizes according to U.S. tax laws in effect at the time of the Competition.
  3. The Cliburn is in the process of negotiating a number of major recital and orchestra engagements for the three top prizewinners of the 2021 Competition, to be performed within the three-year period following the Competition. A list of potential engagements forming part of the prizes will be published in the Competition program book in May 2021. Scheduling of these engagements will take into account any prior commitments of the winners, but the winners will be expected to fulfill all prize engagements. Failure to do so may result in forfeiture of a winner’s claim to prizes, awards, and engagements, at the discretion of the Cliburn. In addition, during the three years of management by the Cliburn, the winners will not accept any engagement without prior consultation with the Cliburn. The prizewinners will be required to sign an agreement outlining the above with the Cliburn following the Competition.
  4. The First, Second, and Third Prize winners will perform, if requested, a maximum of three recitals without charge for the benefit of the Cliburn.

Competition Jury:
Chairman – Marin Aslop (USA)
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (France)
Rico Gulda (Austria)
Andreas Haefliger (Switzerland)
Wu Han (Taiwan/USA)
Stephen Hough (Ubited Kingdom)
Anne-Marie McDermott (USA)
Gabriela Montero (Venezuela)
Orli Shaham (Israel/USA)
Lilya Zilberstein (Russia)

Screening Jury: Angela Cheng (Canada), Arnaldo Cohen (Brazil), Christipher Elton (United Kingdom), Alexander Kobrin (Russia/USA), Anton Nel (South Africa/USA).

Rounds and Repertoire

Approximately 135 applicants perform 40-minute recitals in eight cities across Asia, Europe, and North America


30 competitors perform a 40-minute recital, to include commissioned work of 4-6 minutes by Stephen Hough


18 competitors perform a 40-minute recital


12 competitors in two phases:

  1. 60-minute recital
  2. Mozart concerto to be selected from a list with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and conductor Nicholas McGegan
    • Piano Concerto No. 9 in E-flat Major, K. 271
    • Piano Concerto No. 15 in B-flat Major, K. 450
    • Piano Concerto No. 19 in F Major, K. 459
    • Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor, K. 466
    • Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major, K. 467
    • Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat Major, K. 482
    • Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, K. 488
    • Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor, K. 491
    • Piano Concerto No. 25 in C Major, K. 503
    • Piano Concerto No. 27 in B-flat Major, K. 595


6 competitors perform two concertos, to be selected from two separate lists, with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and conductor Marin Alsop.

Concerto 1: 

    • BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major, op. 15
    • BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, op. 19
    • BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, op. 37
    • BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, op. 58
    • BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major, op. 73
    • CHOPIN Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor, op. 11
    • CHOPIN Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor, op. 21
    • GERSHWIN Rhapsody in Blue
    • GERSHWIN Piano Concerto in F Major
    • GRIEG Piano Concerto in A Minor, op. 16
    • LISZT Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major, S. 124
    • LISZT Piano Concerto No. 2 in A Major, S. 125
    • MENDELSSOHN Piano Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, op. 25
    • RAVEL Piano Concerto in G Minor
    • RAVEL Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in D Major
    • SAINT-SÄENS Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, op. 22
    • SAINT-SÄENS Piano Concerto No. 5 in F Major, op. 103
    • SCHUMANN Piano Concerto in A Minor, op. 54

Concerto 2:

    • BARTÓK Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Major, Sz. 95, BB 101
    • BARTÓK Piano Concerto No. 3 in E Major, Sz. 119, BB 127
    • BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, op. 15
    • BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, op. 83
    • PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, op. 16
    • PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major, op. 26
    • RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, op. 18
    • RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, op. 30
    • TCHAIKOVSKY Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor, op. 23

Recital repertoire not to be repeated in Preliminary, Quarterfinal, and Semifinal Rounds.

More details