Anything Goes


Van Cliburn


Chief among the complaints against music competitions is their way of rewarding the predictable. In an admirable attempt to break the habit, the Ninth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, in Fort Worth, Iexas. has changed its rules. Repertoire requirements, the procrustean standard of such events, have been abandoned. Well, almost. Entrants who clear the first round must try their hands at Morton Gould’s Ghost Waltzes, commissioned by the Van Cliburn Foundation for this occasion. Apart from that, and for the first time, they may play whatever they like. The concerts are public. Three dozen pianists from 17 countries arc expected. What a fiesta of apples and oranges this should be! No doubt, the new dispensation will make life more difficult for the distinguished 15-member jury. (Oh, us be a fly on the wall at their deliberations!) The first competitor enters the lists May 22; the winners will be announced at the awards ceremony, on June 6. Hope for some surprises. For more information, cal! 817-738-6536.

Austin Baer is a writer living in New York.