2019 Cliburn international junior piano competition and festival


For pianists age 13 to 17
may 31–june 10, 2019  •  dallas, texas
alessio bax, jury chairman

March 1, 2018 – Applications open
January 10, 2019 – Applications due
January 2019 – Tickets on sale
March 13, 2019 – Competitors announced
May 29, 2019 – Opening Dinner & Draw Party
May 31–June 1, 2019 – Preliminary Round (SMU)
June 2–3, 2019 – Quarterfinal Round (SMU)
June 5–6, 2019 – Semifinal Round (SMU)
June 8, 2019 – Final Round and Awards Ceremony (Meyerson)

The second edition of the Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival, for pianists age 13 to 17, will take place May 31–June 8, 2019, in Dallas, Texas. The Preliminary through Semifinal Rounds and festival events will take place on the campus ofSMU, where participants will also reside. The Final Round will be held at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, where the three finalists will perform full concertos with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (conductor to be announced early 2018). Alessio Bax, remarkable pianist, winner of both the Leeds and Hamamatsu International Piano Competitions, and SMU artist-in-residence, will serve as jury chairman. All Competition performances will be webcast live at Cliburn.org.

The Junior Competition and Festival was established in 2015 as another means for the Cliburn to use its standing and expertise to encourage tomorrow’s great artists, to provide a valuable forum for them to express themselves, and to give them an entrance to the next step of their journeys. Key ingredients were top international jurors, the media and webcast, Final Round performances with orchestra, and the festival atmosphere, which included performance experience and artistic workshops—all put into place to make the program significantly useful for students with aspirations of being professional musicians.

“The last four years have been a time of growth for the Cliburn: we have fine-tuned or expanded many of our programs and added some as well—the Junior Competition being the most impactful of our new initiatives,” said Jacques Marquis, Cliburn president and CEO. “The first edition in 2015 was a great success and accomplished its intention, to help keep the Cliburn brand alive internationally over our four-year cycle and to connect us with the top international talent at an earlier age. With the second edition, we look to build upon that success.”

The First Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival was held in June 2015 and drew 160 applications from 26 countries. Over 30 journalists, including several from Europe, covered the event in person, writing over 100 stories about the Competition and the 23 pianists who participated. Live and on demand webcast views have topped 100,000 for over 1 million minutes watched by viewers in 170 countries.

“One key to continuing the Cliburn’s strategic advancement is to continuously reach a broader community, both around the world and in our own backyard,” said Marquis. “We are pleased to be presenting the second edition of this still-new program in Dallas in 2019, and believe it will expose the Cliburn to a greater audience base in the region, as well as bring fantastic new partnerships with SMU, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and more to come. Fort Worth was Van Cliburn’s home and is the Cliburn’s permanent home. It will, in perpetuity, play host to the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. We have no intention of lessening our presence in Fort Worth; in fact, we have been increasing our programs in our hometown. Our offices are in downtown Fort Worth; our concert series are held in Fort Worth; our education program visits every elementary school in Fort Worth each year; and our community partnerships have never been stronger—including those with longtime, cherished collaborators TCU and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. We are proud to be adding to that robust Cliburn family now with the outstanding organizations and people of Dallas.”

Tickets to attend the Competition will go on sale in early 2019. The Cliburn will also have travel arrangement options for Fort Worth patrons planning to attend.

For information on sponsorships, contact Kim Blouin.
For information on underwriting opportunities, contact Marianne Pohle.
For information on volunteering, contact Kay Howell.



Applications for the 2019 Junior Competition, as well as full requirements for candidates, will be available at Cliburn.org beginning March 1, 2018, and will be due January 10, 2019. Applicants must have been born between June 8, 2002, and May 31, 2006.

A screening jury will select 24 competitors through online applications and video submissions, which will be 15 to 20 minutes in length and include one etude, one movement of a Classical sonata, and one expressive Romantic work. (Works performed in screening videos can be repeated during Competition rounds, but no works can be repeated within Competition rounds.) Competitors will be announced to the public on March 13, 2019. New for the second edition, 14 additional pianists will be accepted as non-competing festival participants and will have the opportunity to take part in master classes, private lessons, workshops, and other elective activities.

Competitors and festival participants will be housed at SMU for the duration of the Competition and Festival.


The Junior Competition will consist of four rounds:

PRELIMINARY ROUND—24 pianists, each performing a 20-minute recital to include a virtuosic étude and one three- or four-voice Bach Prelude and Fugue.

QUARTERFINAL ROUND—14 pianists, each performing a 30-minute recital to include the first or last movement of a Classical sonata (some restrictions will apply).

SEMIFINAL ROUND—6 pianists, each performing a 40-minute recital (to include one large work of at least 18 minutes in length and a contemporary work) and one concerto movement with piano accompaniment (movement to be selected by the Cliburn).

FINAL ROUND—3 pianists, each performing one complete concerto with orchestra.

Please note that exact repertoire requirements will be posted at Cliburn.org by March 1, 2018.

Competition Rounds will be open to the public; tickets will go on sale in fall 2018.


The first-prize winner will receive a cash award of $15,000; second prize is $10,000; and third prize is $5,000. All three top prizes will also include scholarships, and community residency and mentorship opportunities with the Cliburn. Other special prizes will be announced in 2018.


The Cliburn will offer a variety of events aimed at the artistic advancement of the competitors, festival attendees, and other pianists, including master classes, guest artist recital(s), workshops, chamber music and four-hand reading, one-on-one mentorship meetings, and more. The Festival will also share the gifts of elite young pianists with the community, through free recitals around Dallas. Schedule to be announced in 2019.


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