The Cliburn

General Information for Amateur Competition Applicants

The Cliburn’s definition of an “amateur” is one who says he or she is an amateur. All competitors will be considered amateurs in the best sense of the word–not as those who “dabble,” but as those who play the piano as a serious pastime rather than as a profession–sometimes having had to make the difficult choice between their profession and their potential career as a concert artist. Many past Amateur Competition participants have, at one time in their lives, received advanced piano degrees; others have never studied the piano professionally. Amateur Competition prizes have been awarded both to those with extensive public performing experience as well as to those who have spent many hours playing mostly for their own enjoyment or for the pleasure of friends, family, and their local community. All, however, are united by their love of classical music-making and sharing this passion with others of like mind.

All performances take place at Ed Landreth Hall on the campus of Texas Christian University and will be open to the public. Competitors are responsible for their own travel and housing arrangements. Practice facilities and instruments are available for all competitors during the week of the competition. Several social events, as well as opportunities to perform chamber music and participate in symposia and master classes, are organized during the course of the competition to allow for participants to meet and play for one another on an informal basis.


Preliminary Round
A maximum of 75 applicants each present a program between 10 and 12 minutes in length.

Semifinal Round
Up to 25 semifinalists each present a program between 16 and 20 minutes in length.

Final Round
Six finalists each present a program between 25 and 30 minutes in length.

Competitors are free to choose their own programs for all phases of the competition. However, no works may be repeated in subsequent rounds and complete program timings must be inclusive of applause. Returning competitors are encouraged to present repertoire that has not been performed at previous competitions. It is suggested that the repertoire reflect a variety of musical periods and composers. Separate movements of larger works will be accepted but must be performed in their entirety. Works do not have to be memorized.

The jury for the Amateur Competition will include distinguished music faculty from local universities and other notable industry professionals. A Press Jury Award will also be given by the Press Jury.

The winner of the Richard Rodzinski First Prize Award will receive a cash prize of $2,000.
The Second Prize winner will receive a cash prize of $1,500.
The Third Prize winner will receive a cash prize of $1,000.

Additional prizes will include the Press Jury Award; Audience Award; awards for the Best Performance of a Work from the Baroque Era, the Classical Era, and the Romantic Era; Best Performance of a Post-Romantic Work; Best Performance of a Modern Work; Most Creative Programming Award; the Fort Worth Piano Teachers Forum Award; and Jury Discretionary Awards.


  • Applicants should be those who play piano for pleasure and dedication to the instrument and its repertoire, rather than those who play primarily for professional pursuits or financial benefit. Decisions by the Cliburn are final.
  • Minimum age is 35 years by the first day of the competition.
  • Previous first-prize winners of the competition are not eligible.
  • Priority will be given to applicants who have not previously competed in the competition.
  • Prize winners will be required to provide a social security or ITIN number.
  • Applicants must submit a completed application form and all materials along with a $75 non-refundable fee.

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.


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