Breakthrough: No teachers on next Van Cliburn jury

Breakthrough: No teachers on next Van Cliburn jury


norman lebrecht

September 16, 2015

A major competition has finally broken with the tyranny and collusion of conservatory teachers who vote for each others’ students.

The 2017 jury, all noted performers, will be:

Leonard Slatkin, jury chairman (United States)

Arnaldo Cohen (Brazil)

Jean-Philippe Collard (France)

Christopher Elton (United Kingdom)

Marc-André Hamelin (Canada)

Joseph Kalichstein (Israel)

Mari Kodama (Japan)

Anne-Marie McDermott (United States)

Alexander Toradze (United States/Georgia)

van cliburn

UPDATE: It has been pointed out that one of the above-named is primarily a teacher. He’s the token teacher on a panel of performers. This is a vast improvement on past Cliburns and general competition practice.


  • Bob says:

    I see many teachers here…

    Regardless, these are some great musicians!

  • Karl says:

    So Christopher Elton is not a teacher.. last time I checked he is in the faculty for the Royal Academy of Music… Get the facts right first

  • Songfest says:

    Arnoldo Cohen, Christopher Elton, Alexander Toradze, Joseph Kalichstein are all teachers. And Kalichstein teaches at Juilliard… Sorry, but this is just “business as usual”.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      They are not primarily teachers, or heads of department at heavyweight teaching institutions.

      • Songfest says:

        Arnoldo Cohen: Full-time professor, Indiana University in Bloomington

        Alexander Toradze: Full-time professor, Indiana University in South Bend

        Joseph Kalichstein: Full-time professor, Juilliard School

        Christopher Elton: A full-time teacher – his student, the late Jose Fehgali, won the 1985 Cliburn.

  • Peter Freeman says:

    The point is, and always has been, not whether judges teach, but whether any of their students are competing, thus conferring unfair advantage and removing any moral high ground and credibility from any competition. If not, there can be no objection to such judges on grounds of likely bias.

  • Ross says:

    I wonder how much a one time lesson with Ms. McDermott will cost now.

  • Boring Fileclerk says:

    I say the jury should be staffed by people who do not play the instrument or none at all. It’s about the music, not the technical nuances. Heck, music theorists should be the juries on these things!

  • Bob says:

    Cohen has around 20 students and makes over $100,000 teaching (state university – all salaries are public).

  • Milka says:

    That Hamelin would lower himself to this nonsense is puzzling.

    • PickledCabbage says:

      Is Hamelin the only one that is not involved in teaching? Maybe he is asked to be the ‘policeman’ for the judging.

      “You can’t vote for your own terrible student, you old coot!”

      “And you also can’t vote for your friend’s terrible student, you second old coot!”

  • Respect says:

    Toradze’s studio Is one of his main preoccupations, he’s placed his former students very aggessively. Glad to see the Julliard chair gone, Pressler will undoubtedly be too old by that point.

  • PickledCabbage says:

    Is this Van Cliburn organizers’ own statement that there are no teachers in the jury, or just NL giving an inaccurate conclusion based on the list? Because every comment thus far is disagreeing.