This morning when I got to work, I talked a bit about American Idol with a colleague who watches the show. I’ve seen parts of a couple episodes, but I don’t know too much about the show.
She told me about Idol, and I got to tell her about the music “show” that I’ve been watching recently: the 2009 Van Cliburn Piano Competition. It happens every four years in Fort Worth, Texas – and no, I did not nip down to Texas this weekend – I've been watching it streaming live online, for free.
The competitors, who are all 30 or younger, are chosen from all over the world. First recordings are screened, and then the judges travel to hear about 150 performers in person, and then about 30 pianists are invited to Texas. They perform for audiences and judges in Texas, and you can watch them online.
You won’t hear Tears for Fears covers, rather you’ll get to enjoy music by Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Liszt, Busoni, Bach, Stravinsky, Brahms, Dvorak, Schumann, and contemporary composers writing for the piano.
Also cool: I recently interviewed the host for the live Cliburn webcast -- pianist Jade Simmons. We’ve played her debut album
, which includes music by Corigliano and Barber and hip-hop piano etudes by DBR, on the radio.
Simmons is also an arts activist and is no stranger to competition -- as Miss Illinois, she played Chopin for the talent portion of the Miss America competition. Listen to our conversation about the future of concert music, Revolutionary Rhythm, and her diverse musical experiences.
Interview with Jade Simmons