Cliburn Competition Dedicated to Founder

Pianist Van Cliburn died three months before 14th competition held in his name

By Chris Van Horne
|  Friday, May 24, 2013  |  Updated 7:11 PM CDT
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One of the top piano competitions is under way in Fort Worth, the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano competition.

Chris Van Horne, NBC 5 Fort Worth Reporter

One of the top piano competitions is under way in Fort Worth, the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano competition.

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Three months after the death of Fort Worth's famous pianist, Van Cliburn, his piano competition returns with 30 new competitors.

The 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition began Friday morning with the start of the preliminary round of performances.

The music and performances remain as good as ever, but it's clear that something is missing this year.

"He was very much a presence here at Bass Hall for the competition," said Marcia Garoon, a former Cliburn employee and current host family for a competitor.

Three months after Cliburn lost his battle with cancer, the show goes on. But all the competitors know that this version of his competition is for Van himself.

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Pianist Van Cliburn Dead at Age 78

World-renowned pianist Van Cliburn, who was diagnosed with advanced bone cancer in August, died today at the age of 78.

Van Cliburn's Legacy Lives on in Piano Competition

Van Cliburn's musical genius will continue to inspire future generations of classical pianists in the competition named after the Texan, the Cliburn International Piano Competition.
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"He is missed by all of us," said Carla Thompson, Cliburn chairman. "The 14th competition is in tribute to him, dedicated to him."

Cliburn is gone, but his vision for the competition and love of classical music remains strong, as demonstrated by the performers and audiences on Friday.

"Certainly, his spirit in the competition is something that the competitors are conscious of, the audience is," Thompson said.

"It's been very interesting," said Glenn Garoon, who is hosting a pianist from Russia for the competition this year.

And while the 30 competitors this go around won't have the chance to meet Fort Worth's world famous pianist, they'll all take the stage he helped build with a chance to become just as famous if they win.

The preliminary rounds run until Monday afternoon. A winner will be crowned on June 9.

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