La Scena Musicale

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

New Cliburn documentary on PBS this Friday

The Cliburn Logo

FORT WORTH, Texas, July 28, 2015Virtuosity, the story of the Fourteenth Cliburn Competition, directed by Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Christopher Wilkinson, will air nationally on PBS this Friday, July 31, 2015 at 9 p.m. ET (check your local listings).
Virtuosity features the 30 competitors, including Vadym Kholodenko (Ukraine), Beatrice Rana (Italy), Sean Chen (United States), Fei-Fei Dong (China), Nikita Mndoyants (Russia), Tomoki Sakata (Japan), Alessandro Deljavan (Italy), and Steven Lin (United States), as well as artistic collaborators Maestro Leonard Slatkin, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and Brentano String Quartet.
It premiered in November 2014 at Bass Performance Hall (Fort Worth, Texas) in a special opening night screening for the Lone Star Film Festival and went on to screen at several international film festivals including Seattle, Palm Springs, and Minneapolis St. Paul.
Virtuosity searches for the musical souls of some of the most gifted young pianists on the planet as they try to make a name for themselves at the 2013 Cliburn Competition. The pressure on these artists is overwhelming, because the stakes are so high: prize money, concert bookings, a recording contract, a career.
At the heart of this story is the courage it takes for a 20-year-old to go onstage alone before 2,000 people, and hundreds of thousands more online, and play a unique interpretation of one of the most difficult pieces ever written for the piano. The Competition requires not only a transcendent musical ability, but a mental toughness that must sustain the soloist through three straight weeks of performance. The Cliburn becomes as much a test of character as a musical proving ground.
And all of the onstage brilliance and backstage drama takes place in the year in which the inspiration and namesake of the competition, Van Cliburn, passed away. This film is a tribute to his memory, and to his particular genius.
But ultimately, the film focuses on this group of young pianists as they articulate their personalities through their music: brilliant, eccentric, tender, touching, dazzling, deadly serious, wildly entertaining. We share their secrets, their hopes, their humanity. As different as they are as people, these young musicians share a single reality: winning The Cliburn would change their lives overnight.
The Cliburn appreciates the support of the Fourteenth Competition Media Project from: Alcon, Forestar Oil & Gas, Jane and John Justin Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Burnett Foundation, and the Woodward Family Foundation. And in-kind support from: Canon, Technicolor, Lowel Lighting, and The Tiffen Company.
Christopher Wilkinson was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Nixon (Touchstone). His writing credits include Ali (Columbia), Copying Beethoven (SKE/Myriad), which he also produced, and the upcoming Pawn Sacrifice. He is currently working on Mercury (GK Films/Paramount). Wilkinson has directed three second units, shooting principal sequences of The River (Universal), Intersection (Paramount), and For the Boys (Fox) on which he also served as a producer. Before working on feature films, he wrote, produced, and directed commercials and documentaries for EUE/Screen Gems, PBS, CBS Sports, and ESPN. His documentaries have won awards at the Chicago International Film Festival, The International Film Festival of New York, and CINE.
Lori Miller created and produced the multi-award-winning and New York Times Critics Pick documentary They Came to Play, which tells the inspirational stories of the participants in the Cliburn’s 2007 Amateur Competition. She just completed Shakespeare High, also an award-winning documentary about under-served teens in California whose immersion in arts education compels them to overcome difficulties and create better lives. Featuring Kevin Spacey and Richard Dreyfuss, the film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, Lincoln Center Film Society, and on Showtime. Ms. Miller has also produced several independent features including: Panic, starring William H. Macy and Donald Sutherland (Sundance Film Festival, HBO, and theatrical release); The Last Supper, starring Cameron Diaz and Bill Paxton (Toronto and Sundance Film Festivals, Sony); Perfect Opposites, starring Piper Perabo and Jennifer Tilly (USA Network); and Campfire Tales, starring Ron Livingston and Christine Taylor (New Line).
The Cliburn advances 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 new artists. Established in 1962, the quadrennial Van Cliburn International Piano Competition is widely-recognized as “one of the world’s highest-visibility classical-music contests” (Dallas Morning News) and remains committed to its original ideals of supporting and launching the careers of young pianists, age 18 to 30 (fifteenth edition May 25June 10, 2017). It shares the transformative powers of music with a wide global audience, through fully-produced webcasts and by providing commission-free, comprehensive career management and concert bookings to its winners. Rounding out its mission, the Cliburn also produces the Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival for exceptional 13 to 17-year-old pianists (inaugural edition June 21–28, 2015) and the Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition for outstanding non-professional pianists age 35 and older (seventh edition June 1925, 2016).
Over a four-year cycle, the Cliburn contributes to North Texas’ cultural landscape with over 170 classical music performances for 150,000 attendees, through competitions, free community concerts, and its signature Cliburn Concerts series at Bass Performance Hall, the Kimbell Art Museum Piano Pavilion, and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. It presents 1,000 in-school, interactive music education programs for more than 200,000 area elementary students. During the same time period, it garners the world’s attention with over one million visits from 155 nations for live concert and competition webcasts; 300 concerts worldwide booked for competition winners; more than 5,000 news articles about the Cliburn and its winners; regular national radio broadcasts to 245 public radio stations; and a PBS documentary airing in a potential 105 million households.
Detailed information about the Cliburn and its programs is available at
Official Sponsors of the Cliburn are:
Amon G. Carter Foundation
Ann L. & Carol Green Rhodes Charitable Trust, Bank of America, Trustee
Arts Council of Fort Worth
BNSF Railway Foundation
Crystelle Waggoner Charitable Trust
ExxonMobil / XTO Energy

Jane and John Justin Foundation
Mercedes T. Bass Charitable Corporation
Sid W. Richardson Foundation
Steinway & Sons – North Texas / Houston
The Burnett Foundation
The Pangburn Foundation, J.P. Morgan, Trustee
Exclusive Print Media Sponsor:
Official Hotel of the Cliburn:
The Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel

KERA is the presenting station of Virtuosity. KERA is a not-for-profit public media organization reaching the fifth-largest population area in the United States through KERA-TV, KERA WORLD, KERA 90.1 and the Triple-A music station KXT 91.7 FM. For over 50 years, North Texans have turned to KERA as a vibrant destination for community engagement and lifelong learning. KERA produces original multimedia content, carries the best in national and international public television and radio programs, and provides online resources at

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