The Cliburn

2016 Amateur Competition Artistic Collaborators

At the 2016 Cliburn Amateur Competition, finalists performed one movement of a concerto with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. It marked the first time an orchestra has performed in the Amateur Competition.


DamonGupton Headshot

DAMON GUPTON, conductor

A native of Detroit, Michigan, Damon Gupton received his bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Michigan. He studied conducting with David Zinman and Murry Sidlin at the Aspen Music Festival and with Leonard Slatkin at the National Conducting Institute in Washington, D.C. He served as American conducting fellow of the Houston Symphony for the 2004–2005 season, and his conducting appearances include the Detroit Symphony, The Cincinnati Pops, National Symphony Orchestra, NHK Orchestra of Tokyo, and Sphinx Symphony, as part of the 12th annual Sphinx Competition. He led the Sphinx Chamber Orchestra on a national tour which included performances at Carnegie Hall; a well-reviewed recording is available at White Pine Music. He is a winner of the Third International Eduardo Mata Conducting Competition, held in Mexico City. Musical collaborations include work with Marcus Miller, Kenn Hicks, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Byron Stripling, Tony DeSare, The Midtown Men, Kathleen Battle, and Jamie Cullum. Mr. Gupton held the post of assistant conductor of the Kansas City Symphony from 2006–2008.

An accomplished actor, Mr. Gupton graduated from the drama division of The Juilliard School. He is currently working with Billy Bob Thornton and William Hurt on Goliath, which premieres on Amazon in October. Other television credits include starring roles in The Player, The Divide, and Prime Suspect, as well as guest appearances on A&E’s Bates Motel, The Newsroom, Suits, Empire, Rake, Law & Order, Law & Order Criminal Intent, Conviction, The Unusuals, Third Watch, Hack, Drift, and Deadline. He appeared in the Academy Award-winning film Whiplash, as well as This is Forty, The Last Airbender, Helen at Risk, Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead, Unfaithful, and The Loretta Claiborne Story. Stage appearances include the Broadway production of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning Clybourne Park, Carter’s Way, Superior Donuts, Inked Baby, The Story, Meg’s New Friend, An American Daughter, True History and Real Adventures, Treason, and Othello.

Mr. Gupton merged his love of acting and conducting in a January 2016 appearance with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, when he conducted “A Night at the Oscars” at Bass Performance Hall.




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Since its beginnings in 1912, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra (FWSO) has been an essential thread in the city’s cultural fabric and the very foundation of Fort Worth’s performing arts. Today, the FWSO is one of the most successful orchestras in the United States, performing an impressive 200 concerts each year for an audience of 250,000 adults and children from all walks of life. Now in his 15th season, Music Director Miguel Harth-Bedoya has transformed the FWSO into an ensemble that is recognized and admired the world over for its artistic excellence and commitment to community engagement.

As the principal resident company of the acoustically superb Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall, the orchestra performs a broad range of symphonic and pops concerts and is admired nationally for the strength and uniqueness of its collaborations with other organizations including the Fort Worth Opera, Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, the Children’s Education Program of Bass Performance Hall, and various local professional choruses. The orchestra’s annual summer music festival, Concerts in the Garden, has grown to be one of the largest and most successful summer outdoor festivals of its kind in Texas, attracting an annual audience of nearly 45,000.

The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra is also a national leader in music education. Adventures in Music, the orchestra’s education and outreach program, inspires, educates and entertains more than 65,000 children through more than 100 engaging programs each year in Fort Worth and across the state of Texas.


Our Mission

It is the mission of the Cliburn to advance classical piano music throughout the world. Its international competitions, education programs, and concert series embody an enduring commitment to artistic excellence and the discovery of young artists.



The Cliburn is a not-for-profit organization governed by a board of directors, elected for a four year term. It is sustained by the generous support from individuals, foundations, corporations, the tireless efforts of volunteers, and embraced by the community of Fort Worth. The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition is a proud member of the World Federation of International Music Competitions.


201 Main Street, Suite 100
Fort Worth, TX 76102


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