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Unforgettable memory with Mr. Cliburn

Story: I participated the Cliburn Amateur Competition 2011 without knowing anything about it. I just started playing again and I still have no idea why I was selected. It was so obvious that I was not be qualified. I was so intimidated and about to withdraw from it. Then Dr. Tamas Ungar who was/is a world famous teacher/pianist, and our advisory committee member encouraged me and gave me lessons every day for a week to prepare for the competition so that I could be on the stage.

I met Mr. Cliburn at the ceremony. He was so nice. You see the president was burst out laughing by watching us because he was hugging me for a long time!

Next day, we happened to meet him again at a famous restaurant. After chatting for an hour, he treated us full course French dinner! We truly enjoyed talking about him, music, pianists, and more and more.

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Surprised to hear this was not a well-thought out plan!! Yes, you should talk about your experience at one of the Musicales.

I attended a few sessions back in 77 with my friend Janette Sudderth while we both were living in Texas. It was the year Alexander Toradze and Stephen De Groote were in competition for 1st place. I remember witnessing some sort of brouhaha with the judges, seemed like somebody stormed out. We preferred Toradze...a fiery Russian powerhouse!


Richard Bishop
Richard Bishop
Jul 17, 2020

What a great experience... would like to hear more how you came upon this competition seems somewhat accidentally? I met Cliburn once - what a great person. Super genuine and still love his recording of the Brahms Handel variations.

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