Breaking: Major US piano competition shuts down

Janelle Gelfand has just reported the death, after 60 years, of the Cincinnati World Piano Competition.

The organisers were unable to raise $300,000 to keep it running.

It was America’s longest-running annual piano competition.

At times it was so ferocious that one pianist played til her hands bled (below).

Read more here.


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  • What a shame… as long as the administration keeps on making decisions like abolishing the National Endowment for the Arts or continuing to ignore and/or cut education and artistic spending, we will continue to see this plague this country… 🙁

    • The administration cannot abolish the NEA/NEH. That would have to be done by Congress. A majority of members of Congress support NEA/NEH. It appears likely that they will continue.

      • Right. The administration can just defund them. Same result, right?

        As for abolishing them, give Congress enough time.

        • Appropriations are made by the congress. The president cannot defund the NEA/NEH.

          I am not saying that they are safe, but some understanding of the budget process is required here.

  • That’s indeed fortunate, because the musical world can be spared a repetition of 2015, when two finalists played — want to guess? — yes, Rachmaninoff’s famed 3rd piano concerto in D minor. And the third finalist played — want to guess again? yes, Tchaikovsky’s famed First Piano Concerto in B flat minor, even “whizzing over the keys when the moment called for it.” (

    Why should we care about these people and their performances of these same works that are flogged to death in the other 799 “international piano competitions”?

  • If they should ever resurrect the competition (or create a new one), one thought might be to try two things: a chamber music round featuring a new work commissioned for the competition, and, a final round featuring new concerti composed in the 21st century only, by living composers. Maybe a list of 6 or 7 to choose from? Is this new? Can this add to the repertoire? Would this be a multi-pronged goal of competitions to promote talent of the pianist but also the composers–and–encourage future works for chamber music and for piano and orchestra?

  • It’s not entirely unexpected – this competition was notoriously unorganized and corrupt. There were numerous stories of competitors never receiving their prize money and promised engagements that never materialized. It generally had a laughable reputation, and even the brief success they had with the last few competitions couldn’t stem the effects of decades of mismanagement and in-fighting. Sad!

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