This summer, the Cliburn hosted an Amateur Piano Video Contest, open to classical pianists age 35 and older (on or before July 31, 2014), who do not derive their primary source of income from the playing, teaching, or composing of piano music. Forty entrants with professions ranging from journalism to pharmacy and software engineering to preschool teaching and hailing from 6 countries and 19 U.S. states plus D.C. submitted 5-10 minute performance videos.
The winner of the contest, determined entirely by public online voting, is Alfredo Garcia, Jr., a 60-year-old senior financial advisor with Merrill Lynch/Bank of America, originally from Havana, Cuba and currently residing in Ho Ho Kus, New Jersey. Mr. Garcia garnered over 1,600 votes and receives automatic entry into the seventh International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs™ to be held summer 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.
The contest pages drew over 66,000 views from 97 countries, with 3,286 voters casting 11,041 total votes. (Each person was allowed to vote for his or her favorite videos once per day during the 15-day voting period.)
ABOUT ALFREDO GARCIA, JR.
Feeling a strong connection to classical music at an early age, Alfredo Garcia, Jr. began studying piano when he was 8 years old, after pleading with his parents for lessons. He attended music conservatories in his hometown of Havana, Cuba and was preparing to enter the Amadeo Roldan Conservatory at the age of 14, when his family was granted leave from Cuba and relocated to Madrid, Spain. There he studied at the Conservatorio Real de Madrid before moving to New York City in 1970, when he was 17. His parents bought him his first piano, and he continued his music education at various institutions, including the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. He was seeking his Master in Musicology at Queens College, New York, in 1977, when his father’s illness drew him out of school and eventually into a profession as a financial analyst. Throughout his life—which has included a successful and busy career (he now serves as First Vice President and Senior International Financial Advisor for Merrill Lynch/Bank of America), marrying his college sweetheart and raising three daughters, and extensive travel—Mr. Garcia has never given up on his first love, the piano. He diligently practices daily and has continued to take lessons throughout his adult life.
“I am so very proud to be the winner of this year’s Cliburn Video Contest,” he said. “I finally have the opportunity to express my love of music and share it with others beyond the walls of my own home.”