The Cliburn


The Cliburn designed Musical Awakenings, its signature music education program, to introduce young audiences to classical music. Musical Awakenings programs present the excitement of live piano performances to second, third, and fourth grade students and reinforce the basic elements of music through fun, interactive activities within the context of classical piano repertoire. Musical Awakenings is presented annually to over 45,000 public elementary students across North Texas. The programs are offered at no cost to participating schools.

Dr. John Feierabend, nationally-known director of music education at the Hartt School of the University of Hartford, and Shields-Collins Bray, principal keyboardist for the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, develop Musical Awakenings presentations. Each interactive concert, which lasts about 40 minutes, features a program facilitator and guest pianist. A grand piano is brought into the school, and a camcorder and projector are used to project the pianist’s hands onto a screen for all students to view. Illustrations further enhance the students’ experiences.

These programs enable students to approach music through multiple intelligences: linguistic, logical/mathematical, spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. In addition, they address national standards in the arts for music education.

The Cliburn produces a study guide in collaboration with the Fort Worth Independent School District for classroom use. The study guide reinforces the schools’ core curriculum through classroom activities and research materials, thus extending the benefits of the Musical Awakenings program and meeting state-mandated education guidelines.

Music Education Consultant – Dr. John Feierabend
Artistic Advisor – Shields-Collins Bray
Director of Education – Susan Robertson

For more information about Musical Awakenings, please contact Susan Robertson at or call 817.738.6536.

The Cliburn’s education programs are proudly sponsored by the Alcon Foundation; Arts Council of Fort Worth & Tarrant County; BBVA Compass Foundation; Colonial Country Club Charities; Elizabeth L. and Russell F. Hallberg Foundation; JPMorgan Chase Foundation; Meta Alice Keith Bratten Foundation; Linda Singer; Target; Texas Commission on the Arts; Qurumbli Foundation; and Wells Fargo.

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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