Women take over Van Cliburn Competition

Women take over Van Cliburn Competition


norman lebrecht

October 16, 2019

The jury has been chosen for the next Van Cliburn Competition and it’s a 5-4 f-m split:

Wu Han (Taiwan)                                                                Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (France)

Anne-Marie McDermott US)                                            Rico Gulda (Austria)

Gabriela Montero (ex-Venezuela)                                   Andreas Haefliger (Switz.)

Orli Shaham (Israel)                                                           Stephen Hough (UK)

Lilya Zilberstein (Russia)

Marin Alsop will conduct.




  • The View from America says:

    The jury looks fine. The conductor, on the other hand …

  • MeisterRaro says:

    A forward looking idea, but, overall such a mediocre list. In regard to the women included, it’s particularly strange to include several who gained their professional standing through their marriages to and associations with important men in the music world! Almost as if to deny the premise of music competitions — don’t prevail by merit, just marry well!

    • David K. Nelson says:

      I know the Ft Worth Star Telegram article says “Orli Sharam” but I am quite sure that is a typo and that it is actually Orli Shaham — Gil Shaham’s sister, and in my experience quite a splendid pianist. I particularly remember a dynamic “Age of Anxiety” performance. And Lilya Zilberstein has never been other than brilliant in the performances I have heard, admittedly always in Russian music: just about the only times I have heard American audiences break out in rhythmic applause.

    • NYMike says:

      If you’re referring to CMS/LC co-director Wu Han, you don’t know what you’re talking about. She’s as fine a chamber music pianist as exists today.

  • V.Lind says:

    How “take over”? With 9 judges, one sex was inevitably going to predominate. 5-4 is the nearest to a tie you can get out of 9. Presumably they wish to avoid a tie in the voting.

    This relentless tabulation of women in music seems dated.

  • Fliszt says:

    Gender issues aside, this is a weak list overall. 100 years from now, it’s doubtful that any of these jurors will be remembered as “legendary” pianists. But as this competition has yet to produce a legendary pianist anyway (aside from Lupu) it really doesn’t matter.

  • Edgar Self says:

    I take Fliszt’s and MeisterRaro’s point and valid comments, but Ive heard of seven of the nine, and recordings by five of those seven. Lilya Zilberstein;s of taaneyev’s Prelude and Fugue in G-sharp minor is of legendary class, on her CD with Mussosrgsky’s “Pictures”, and Stephen Hough’s historical piano albums are golden age-worthy. Not for nothing does he say Benno Moiseiwitsch and Alfred Cortot are among his favorite pianists.

    Besides Radu Lupu, ˆI think the ill-fated laureate Alexei Sultanov is another.