Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m. Orientation meetings at 4:30 p.m.
Afternoon: Program Registration & Orientation: 4:30 p.m. In the 5th floor conference room, register with the program staff and pick up your Road Scholar welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule, and other important information. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. This program date includes the Final Round of the Van Cliburn Piano Competition, in which the pianists will perform with the Brentano String Quartet and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leonard Slatkin. The experience will culminate with the Awards Ceremony, when the winners will be announced. Our resident expert and principal lecturer will be Gregory Allen, Professor of Piano, a former Cliburn competitor, and Grand Prize winner of the 1980 Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition. There is a complimentary hotel reception each evening serving appetizers and beverages. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, engaging in available activities on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local conditions/circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
Dinner: We’ll enjoy a variety of foods and cuisines during the program. Tonight, we’ll go to an excellent Thai restaurant in the hotel for a tasty dinner served family style.
Evening: We’ll view the documentary “Virtuosity” about the 2013 Cliburn competition. It captures the experience of 30 amazingly talented young pianists and what it takes for them to assume center stage before a live audience of 2,000, a jury of judges, and attempt a flawless performance that is also an individual interpretation of one of the most difficult works in the piano repertoire. With the potential for prize money, concert bookings, a recording contract, and a career at stake, the Cliburn requires not only awe-inspiring musical ability, but mental toughness, endurance, and sheer stamina. Participants who took the preceding program and are continuing will have an opportunity to see a documentary about the 2009 competition, “A Surprise in Texas.” It was a notable year when two of the finalists tied for first place and both were awarded the coveted Gold Medal. It was also the year of what became known as “Nobu fever” for 20 year-old Nobuyuki Tsujii. The film follows the competitors from 14 countries including Nobu, who was blind from birth, through the demanding weeks of practice, rehearsal, and performance during the competition.
Activity note: Walking several blocks to restaurants (trolley available). Performance at 7:30 p.m.
Breakfast: In the 7th floor atrium, the daily breakfast buffet offers choices such as eggs cooked to order, pancakes, bacon, sausage, oatmeal, granola, cereals, fresh fruit, pastries, juices, and other beverages.
Morning: We’ll begin with a presentation by our resident expert, Professor Gregory Allen, who — in addition to his teaching career — is an active recitalist and performer. He has been a guest artist with the New York, Los Angeles, and Israel Philharmonics, as well as orchestras in San Francisco, San Diego, Baltimore, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. Prof. Allen will provide an overview of the finals portion of this year’s Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, with background on the composers and music we’ll hear. He will attend competition sessions with us, applying his keen ears and eyes and bringing his insights to discussions of the competitors and different styles and types of piano performance. In addition to the competition, the Cliburn Foundation presents a variety of symposia on topics related to music, some with specific relevance to the competition. We'll attend a discussion about the role of arts in international relations, sponsored by the Cliburn Foundation.
Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like. There are numerous Sundance Square area restaurants and bistros. You are also welcome to bring your own lunch and attend the free “Piano Lunch” in a nearby venue. These are wonderful opportunities in a relaxed setting to hear some of the talented young pianists who didn’t move on to the semi-finals and finals. Just making it to the Cliburn is a significant achievement!
Afternoon: Back at the hotel, we’ll be joined by a representative from the Van Cliburn Foundation who will update us on changes in this year’s competition and the ongoing mission of the foundation: 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. We’ll learn what the foundation does between competition years to provide educational and musical opportunities to the citizens of Fort Worth and the surrounding areas. The Cliburn Foundation also sponsors a quadrennial Amateur Competition open to pianists age 35 and older. These are not “amateurs” in the usual sense, but people who, while playing at a high level, do not derive their principal source of income through piano performance or instruction. We’ll meet one of the finalists from a prior Amateur Competition, who will share stories and insights into the experience.
Dinner: In the Sundance Square area. City trolley available for those who prefer not to walk.
Evening: Performance. The final round of the competition begins with three of the young finalists playing with the Brentano String Quartet. The performances are in beautiful Bass Hall, across the street from our hotel.
Activity note: Walking to restaurants (trolley available). Performance at 7:30 p.m.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: Today, the Cliburn Foundation sponsors a talk by Ann Meier Baker, the Music & Opera Director of the National Endowment for the Arts, about the role of the arts in society, which we'll attend at a nearby venue.
Lunch: We’ll walk to a restaurant in the Sundance Square area (city trolley available).
Afternoon: Back at the hotel, Prof. Allen will review the performances we heard yesterday and lead our discussion as we share our reactions to the competitors. We will also provide background information to prepare us for the upcoming performances including elements of the music day.
Dinner: We will walk to dinner in the Sundance Square area. City trolley available.
Evening: Performance. We’ll hear the three remaining competitors perform with the Brentano String Quartet in Bass Hall.
Activity note: Walking to restaurants (city trolley available). Performance at 7:30 p.m.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: We'll learn all about how competitors are evaluated by the jury panel through a panel discussion with members of the 2017 Jury, including Marc-Andre Hamelin. Hamelin was commissioned to compose the piece each competitor is required to play during the preliminary rounds.
Lunch: We’ll have a festive farewell lunch as we approach the exciting end of the competition.
Afternoon: Back at hotel, Prof. Allen review and analyze the performances we heard yesterday and provide information to prepare us for the upcoming performances. We can share thoughts and reactions to the competitors. As we hear more of them play, you’ll start to notice the differences in style and technique.
Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and will have a list of nearby restaurants. Or, enjoy the hotel’s complimentary reception serving appetizers and beverages.
Evening: Performance. We’ll hear three of the finalists perform a concerto with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Leonard Slatkin. Immerse yourself in each performance of this competition, a joyous festival dedicated to the discovery of the world’s finest young pianists. The final determinations about which contestants will win cash prizes and three years of career management and artistic services will take place at the conclusion of the afternoon performances.
Activity note: Walk to restaurants (city trolley available).Performance at 3:00 p.m. Final award ceremony at 7:00 p.m.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: We’ll have our final session with Prof. Allen to discuss differences between the finalists and nuances of their performances. Make your own assessment of each pianist’s individual talents and ability to collaborate with other musicians. Find out if others in the group are rooting for your favorite! You'll have the option to attend another Cliburn Foundation sponsored event, a panel discussion about the role of competitions in the arts today.
Lunch: We’ll walk to lunch at a restaurant in the nearby Sundance Square area. A city-operated trolley system is available for those who prefer not to walk. Sundance Square is at the heart of Fort Worth’s vibrant downtown cultural district, is rich in Western history and lore. It is named for the Sundance Kid who, with Butch Cassidy, was a frequent visitor to the area then known as Hell’s Half Acre.
Afternoon: Performance: The final series of performances features the three remaining finalists playing concertos with the Fort Worth Symphony. The excitement is palpable.
Dinner: On your own. Enjoy what you like at one of the fine eateries in the area or the hotel’s complimentary reception serving appetizers and beverages.
Evening: The prize winners will be named in a ceremony beginning at 7:00 p.m. In addition to gold, silver, and bronze medals and cash prizes, the Cliburn provides professional support to the winners. It helps to launch their careers by arranging hundreds of recital, festival, and orchestra concert engagements across the U.S. in the three years following the competition. If you have butterflies, imagine how these young competitors feel! The awards ceremony is followed by a block party open to all in the plaza area of Sundance Square. We’ll join in the festivity and celebrate the amazing talent of these young artists, and maybe see some of them up close. After returning to the hotel, prepare for check out and departure in the morning.
Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!