4100 Redwood Rd #406
Oakland, CA 94619

Fourteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition Webcast and Documentary

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Yeol eum Son, silver, Nobuyuki Tsujii, co-gold, & Haochen Zhang, co-gold winners of the 2009 Cliburn Competition




Arts & Culture: Classical Music

Project Geography

US: National
International: Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, South America


Raised to date: $450,860.00
Estimate to complete: $748,135.00
Total Estimated Budget: $1,198,995.00
The budget numbers above are accurate as of 03/15/2013


Research & Development

Media Type


Project End Use

Other: Live-streaming webcast and film documentary on public TV, online, and home video.

Key Personnel

Christopher Wilkinson

Christopher Wilkinson has written, produced and directed commercials and documentaries for EUE/Screen Gems, PBS, CBS Sports and ESPN. His documentary films have won awards at the Chicago International Film Festival, The International Film Festival of New York, and CINE (among others).

Mr. Wilkinson was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Nixon. He has directed three second units, shooting principal sequences of The River, Intersection and For The Boys on which he also served as producer. Mr. Wilkinson has most recently written the upcoming biopic of Tupac Shakur, and the screenplay Mercury, the Freddie Mercury biopic, which will be directed by Steven Frears, and star Sacha Baron Cohen.

Steven Poster

Steven Poster, Cinematographer, launched his cinematography career in Chicago at 21, filming ‘cinema verite' commercials, documentaries and industrial films. He soon moved on to feature films, working as Second Unit Director of Photography on Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Blade Runner. As a Director of Photography, Poster has filmed a wide variety of motion pictures; including the cult favorite Donnie Darko, Stuart Little 2, Daddy Day Care, Rocky V, The Cemetery Club, Life Stinks, Opportunity Knocks, Next of Kin, Mrs. Harris, Big Top Pee-Wee, Testament, and Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. He received an ASC nomination for Best Cinematography for Ridley Scott's Someone To Watch Over Me, and has the distinction of being the only American Cinematographer to shoot a French language film, Une Chance sur Deux, in France for director Patrice Leconte. Poster also filmed the critically acclaimed television movies Roswell, The Color of Justice, and Courage, as well as the controversial, award-winning Madonna video Like A Prayer.

Lori Miller

Ms. Miller is co-owner of The Vault and has produced several films including: Panic, Perfect Opposites, The Last Supper, and Campfire Tales, handling all aspects of producing for each film.

In 2007/8 Ms. Miller created and produced They Came to Play, a feature-length documentary about the fifth International Piano Competition for Outstanding AmateursTM, which garnered multiple awards, rave reviews, and a New York Times Critics Pick. She is currently producing Shakespeare High, a feature-length documentary about a group of mainly under-served teenagers in Southern California whose immersion in high-school drama programs compels them to overcome difficulties and create better lives.

Outreach/Engagement Plan(s)

The Cliburn works hard to bring new audiences to its existing programming and reach underserved populations. The media project will reach those communities in which the only means of experiencing classical music is through electronic media. The Cliburn will stream live and recorded events on the Internet through Cliburn.org and other media sites. The webcast will be available 24 hours a day free to anyone with Internet access. The Cliburn will work with community centers and libraries to promote the webcast to their visitors from lower economic neighborhoods who may not be able to attend a live performance or have access to the Internet in their homes. Excerpts from competition performances will be broadcast nationwide through American Public Media, whose shows are available on local public radio frequencies and on the Internet as live streams and/or podcasts. The Fourteenth Competition documentary will be broadcast on PBS and member stations across the United States may air the productions up to five times over four years, including unlimited repeats within the same week of initial airing. The Cliburn will manage the distribution of the Fourteenth Competition documentary to ensure its regional, national, and international reach, and harmonia mundi usa will distribute CDs of the winners' recordings.

The Cliburn's national and international marketing and public relations plan for the Fourteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition Media Project includes efforts to reach thousands around the world through press releases, newsletters, ads, ticket brochures, and other marketing materials. The Cliburn's director of marketing will partner with the Cliburn's national press representative to secure local, national, and international media coverage of the competition. Due to the many facets of the media project, they will target not only general news and music writers, but also those specializing in web, television, and film. Coverage will be tracked carefully through contact with journalists, supplemented by online alert services.

The Cliburn's social media strategy will include actions to engage individuals across the United States and the world, continuously adding to the Cliburn's online social audience. Schedules will be developed for posting items that are timely and strategic on the Cliburn's Facebook and Twitter pages. Strategic actions will be employed to engage the public through interactive features on the web throughout the Competition. Plans include: live blog(s); a blog roll of outside blogs reporting on the Competition; notification of new content and reminders of performances; uploading photos on Flickr®; hashtag for other social media users referencing the event so that they can connect on FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr®; uploading performances to the Cliburn's YouTube account that is visible to the general public and the Cliburn's 200,000 followers; an Instagram photo contest; an opportunity to tweet questions to the host Jade Simmons to be answered on the air during the Competition; and creating a mobile app with streaming, chat, comments, and voting capabilities.

Estimated total number of people that will be served through the media project:

•·         500,000 absolute unique visitors for the webcast. The Cliburn estimates doubling the number of people reached from the previous competition with the help of its re-engineered website that was launched in summer 2012, and through unique partnerships with media outlets.

•·         105 million potential households reached in the United States with a national premiere of the documentary on PBS. This number reflects the one day premiere and does not take into account the number of viewers who see the documentary in reruns.


National Endowment for the Arts$20,000.0005/14/2012


2525 Ridgmar Boulevard
Suite 307
Fort Worth, TX, 76116

Short Synopsis

The Cliburn will produce a multimedia project that includes a global live streaming webcast and a film documentary intended for national broadcast on PBS. This project will cover the Fourteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition to be held May 24-June 9, 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas.


The Cliburn respectfully requests support for the production of a multimedia project that will be a major component of the Fourteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition held from May 24-June 9, 2013, at Bass Performance Hall, in Fort Worth, Texas. There will be a global live streaming webcast; a film documentary intended for national broadcast on PBS and distribution on DVDs; and radio broadcasts on KTCU, WRR, and American Public Media. The production team will encourage audience engagement through streaming a wide variety of additional live and taped programming, audience voting, and the live host, Jade Simmons, fielding emailed questions from viewers during specific interviews. Live-streamed interviews will include on the spot conversations with audience members and behind the scenes participants, e.g. jurors, journalists, volunteers, Cliburn staffers, etc. as well as experts, past winners, and other interesting and relevant participants. This media project will serve audiences across the United States and globally with outstanding performances, as well as support the Cliburn Competition winners with the start of their careers.

The Van Cliburn International Quadrennial Piano Competition was created after Van Cliburn's victory at the inaugural Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow in 1958 as a means of perpetuating his unique legacy of effecting cultural diplomacy through classical music. The first competition was held in 1962, the Cliburn received its tax-exempt status in 1967, and the name was changed to the Van Cliburn Foundation in 1976 to acknowledge its expanded mission and programming. The Cliburn is an innovative force in the classical music field and is a recognized leader in bringing live performances to audiences extending far beyond the concert hall.

The mission of the Cliburn is to advance 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 young artists. The Cliburn seeks to connect with audiences through all available media as well as educate new generations of listeners to help them discover and explore the wonder of classical music. Since the competition's inception, significant media projects have been intrinsic to its organization and reach-including four live Internet broadcasts, nine nationally televised documentaries on PBS, and the national and international distribution of albums, CDs, and DVDs.

In 1997, the Cliburn began utilizing sophisticated Internet resources to stream the competition live online, extending its outreach to every corner of the globe. In 2009, web viewers enjoyed free real-time access to competition performances in their entirety, as well as to a fully produced webcast offering hours of educational and cultural content, backstage views of rehearsals, and the International Cultural Diplomacy Symposia. Unique viewership of the 2009 live coverage and archived footage now totals well over 200,000.

In 2013 the Cliburn will again produce a real-time streaming webcast in HD freely available for viewers around the world, as well as hours of supplementary educational and cultural content. The main focus of the webcast will be to bring to life each of the 30 young and gifted pianists through the live broadcasting of the three thrilling competition performance rounds, interactive live commentary, filmed profiles, as well as live and taped interviews with each competitor. Drama, humor, beautiful visuals, and great editing will be used to portray these inspirational young pianists in their most compelling light, and viewers will learn about their love of music, training regimens, personal histories and their vulnerabilities. The programming schedule will be finely tuned with the intention of building suspense over the duration of the Fourteenth Competition: having specific fans, experts, etc. reappear, helping the audience build fan favorites, educating the audience about music, creating pre-filmed short films which have continuous episodes, and more in order to keep viewers tuning in on subsequent days. An important goal of the webcast is to find and retain new viewers. The webcast will be colorful and energetic and will break away from the idea that classical music is only for people who already listen to it. Archived performances and events will be available immediately after they end for video-on-demand and for future viewing.

To complete the media project, a 90-minute documentary covering the Fourteenth Cliburn Competition will be produced to be shown nationally on PBS, and DVDs of the documentary will be distributed nationally and internationally. The Cliburn has produced a documentary of each Van Cliburn International Piano Competition since 1977, all nationally syndicated on PBS. Previous documentaries have garnered acclaim and numerous awards, including a Primetime Emmy® in 1989 and a Peabody Award in 2001. A Surprise in Texas, the Peter Rosen film chronicling the 2009 Competition, was well received at film festivals across the country and in a Texas theatrical release. On September 1, 2010, it reached a potential audience of over 105 million households with its prime time airing on PBS.

The Fourteenth Cliburn Competition documentary will chronicle activities of the competition through the eyes of competitors, jurors, and other participants. This feature-length documentary will follow the emotional and inspirational stories of young and gifted aspiring concert pianists as they prepare for and then compete in the Fourteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. How often does a pianist like Vladimir Horowitz or Lang Lang come along? The quadrennial Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, one of the world's most prestigious piano competitions, culls applicants from all over the globe to find young talent and present it on the world's stage. The film will follow and bring to life young, gifted pianists, as they prepare and then compete in Fort Worth, Texas. The filmmakers will follow the Cliburn as they screen 120 applicants from first, second and third world countries including China, Japan, Korea, Russia, and the United States. The audience will get to know these young people in their strikingly diverse environments and explore what drives them to excel and want to devote their lives to this rich art form. In China an estimated 30 million children study piano; in Russia, children play with the legacy of Rachmaninoff. What makes a gifted few rise above and able to play at the level they do? As arts budgets continue to be squeezed, classical music tries to keep its foothold on the global arts stage. This film will communicate these young adults' passion and love of music: their struggles, sacrifices, and obsession with their chosen art form, such as Nobuyuki Tsujii, the 2009 gold medalist, who despite being blind, won the Thirteenth Cliburn Competition.

The audience will hear from luminaries in the classical music world including the expert jury, including Liu Shih Kun who was incarcerated during China's Cultural Revolution and is now deputy chief of China's Cultural Department, and Maestro Leonard Slatkin, who will work with the competitors in the Final Round preparing them to play with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.  These inspirational young pianists will be shown in their most compelling light, and viewers will learn about their love of music, training regimens, personal histories and vulnerabilities.

As it has done with previous documentaries, the Cliburn will collaborate with PBS and international distributors to broadcast the Fourteenth Cliburn Competition documentary worldwide in the years between competitions.

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