“When wonderful young talents gather to express their ideas and ideals, it usually nets lasting friendships, treasured memories, and strengthened artistic determination.” – Van Cliburn


Preliminary Round (23 competitors) May 31–June 1

Each pianist will perform a recital not to exceed 20 minutes in length. The recital must include:

1. one three- or four-voice Bach Prelude and Fugue
2. one virtuosic etude selected from the following

Chopin Etude in C Major, op. 10, no. 1
Chopin Etude in A Minor, op. 10, no. 2
Chopin Etude in C-sharp Minor, op. 10, no. 4
Chopin Etude in G-flat Major, op. 10, no. 5 (“Black Key”)
Chopin Etude in F Major, op. 10, no. 8
Chopin Etude in C Minor, op. 10, no. 12 (“Revolutionary”)
Chopin Etude in A-flat Major, op. 25, no. 1
Chopin Etude in F Minor, op. 25, no. 2
Chopin Etude in G-sharp Minor, op. 25, no. 6
Chopin Etude in D-flat Major, op. 25, no. 8
Chopin Etude in A Minor, op. 25, no. 11 (“Winter Wind”)
Chopin Etude in C Minor, op. 25, no. 12 (“Ocean”)
Liszt Transcendental Etude No. 4 “Mazeppa
Liszt Transcendental Etude No. 5 “Feux follet
Liszt Transcendental Etude No. 7 “Eroica
Liszt Transcendental Etude No. 8 “Wild Jagd
Liszt Transcendental Etude No. 10 in F Minor
Liszt Transcendental Etude No. 12 “Chasse-neige
Liszt Concert Etude No. 2 “La leggierezza
Liszt Concert Etude No. 3 “Un sospiro
Liszt Paganini Etude No. 3 “La campanella
Liszt Paganini Etude No. 6 in A Minor

The remainder of the program may be chosen by the pianist.

Quarterfinal Round (14 competitors) June 2–June 3

Each pianist will perform a recital not to exceed 30 minutes in length. The recital must include:

1. the first or last movement of one of the following Classical sonatas (sonatas may be played in their entirety):

Any Haydn sonata
Any Mozart sonata
One of the following Beethoven sonatas:

Sonata No. 1 in F Minor, op. 2, no. 1
Sonata No. 2 in A Major, op. 2, no. 2
Sonata No. 3 in C Major, op. 2, no. 3
Sonata No. 4 in E-flat Major, op. 7
Sonata No. 5 in C Minor, op. 10, no. 1
Sonata No. 6 in F Major, op. 10, no. 2
Sonata No. 7 in D Major, op. 10, no. 3
Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, op. 13 (“Pathetique”)
Sonata No. 9 in E Major, op. 14, no. 1
Sonata No. 10 in G Major, op. 14, no. 2
Sonata No. 11 in B-flat Major, op. 22
Sonata No. 12 in A-flat Major, op. 26

2. one lyrical work, similar to a nocturne, intermezzo, or song without words, by one of the following composers: Brahms, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Schubert, or Schumann. The choice is subject to approval by the Cliburn.

The remainder of the program may be chosen by the pianist. Repertoire from the Preliminary Round may not be repeated.

Semifinal Round (6 competitors) June 5–June 6

The Semifinal Round will be held in two phases:

PHASE I: Each pianist must perform a recital not to exceed 40 minutes in length. The recital must include one work written by a living composer and a substantial work of at least 18 minutes. The remainder of the program may be chosen by the pianist. Repertoire from the Preliminary and Quarterfinal Rounds may not be repeated.

PHASE II: Each pianist will perform one movement, as determined by the Cliburn in consultation with the jury, of the concerto submitted for the Final Round with piano accompaniment. The Cliburn will provide an accompanist.

Final Round (3 competitors) June 8

Each pianist will perform one concerto with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. The pianist may choose any work scored for symphony orchestra and piano. When selecting a work, applicants are encouraged to consider a limited rehearsal schedule (which will include one soloist meeting with the conductor, one short rehearsal with orchestra, and one dress rehearsal; the orchestra will not have any additional orchestra-only rehearsals) prior to the performance. The choice is subject to approval by the Cliburn, conductor, and Dallas Symphony Orchestra.



The Second Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival, for pianists age 13 to 17, will take place May 31–June 8, 2019, in Dallas, Texas. The Preliminary through Semifinal Rounds and festival events will take place on the campus of SMU, where participants will also reside. The Final Round will be held at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, where the three finalists will perform full concertos with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

The Cliburn will invite 24 pianists to compete, and, new for the second edition, 14 additional pianists will be accepted as non-competing festival participants and will have the opportunity to take part in master classes, private lessons, workshops, and other elective activities.

Alessio Bax, remarkable pianist, winner of both the Leeds and Hamamatsu International Piano Competitions, and SMU artist-in-residence, will serve as jury chairman.

For questions about the application process or requirements, please contact Michael Bellinson at [email protected] or by phone at +1.817.738.6536.


  1. The Second Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival (hereinafter “Competition”) will be held on the campus of SMU in Dallas, Texas from May 31 to June 8, 2019.
  2. The Cliburn will invite 24 pianists to compete, and 14 additional pianists to attend as non-competing participants. All pianists will apply through the same application form.
  3. Competitors and non-competing participants will be required to be present for the opening events on May 29, 2019.
  4. All competitors and non-competing participants invited to the Competition will be provided one complimentary, economy-class round-trip plane ticket to Dallas from their place of residence.
  5. All competitors and non-competing participants will be given complimentary housing on the campus of SMU between May 28 and June 9, 2019. Meals, practice facilities, and ground transportation to all Cliburn events will be provided. They will be responsible for their own accommodations on any days falling outside of this time period. Competitors who do not pass onto the Quarterfinal, Semifinal, and Final Rounds are strongly encouraged to stay until the end of the event. Any cost incurred by changing dates of travel will be at the competitor’s expense.
  6. In some cases, foreign competitors and participants will need visas and will be responsible for securing them. The Cliburn will assist as needed after competitors and participants have been notified.
  7. In addition to Competition rounds, the Cliburn will organize several performance, learning, and social opportunities for competitors, including public recitals, chamber music readings, panels, and symposia. All competitors and participants are required to attend and participate in these events.


March 1, 2018 – Online applications open
January 10, 2019 – Applications due
March 6, 2019 – Notification of acceptance or non-acceptance
March 13, 2019 – Competitors announced
April 5, 2019 – Last day to make repertoire changes
May 29, 2019 – Competitor Orientation and Opening Dinner & Draw Party
May 31, 2019 – Competition begins
June 8, 2019 – Awards Ceremony


The Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival is open to pianists of all nationalities. Previous first-prize winners of the Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival are not eligible to apply. Applicants must have been born on or between June 8, 2001, and before May 31, 2006.


  1. All applications must be completed and submitted through the online system via Cliburn.org.
  2. All applications are due by 11:59 p.m. CST / GMT-6 on Thursday, January 10, 2019. No late applications will be accepted.
  3. All applicants must submit a nonrefundable application fee of $125 US, payable through the online application system.
  4. An acknowledgment will be sent to each applicant upon receipt of the completed online application. You will not be allowed to submit unless all information is complete.
  5. All applications will be reviewed by a selection committee and treated as confidential. The Cliburn reserves the right to request additional information from or about an applicant.
  6. All applicants should retain copies of their submitted applications. The Cliburn will accept no responsibility for applications not received.


  1. Competitors may not have any other commitments during the time of the Competition. All competitors must remain in Dallas as long as they are still participating in the Competition.
  2. The Competition will consist of four separate elimination rounds: Preliminary, Quarterfinal, Semifinal, and Final. All rounds will be open to the public and will be webcast live.
  3. Twenty-four (24) applicants will be invited to compete. The jury will advance 12 pianists to the Quarterfinal Round, 6 to the Semifinal Round, and 3 to the Final Round.
  4. The order of appearance of pianists in the Preliminary Round will be determined by drawing. The Competition will follow this order except for reasons of accident, illness, or other unusual circumstances, at the discretion of the president and CEO of the Cliburn. The order of appearance in the Final Round will depend on program content and administrative requirements, as determined by the Cliburn.
  5. Pianists may not contact or speak privately with any member of the jury for as long as they continue to participate in the Competition. Any violation of this rule may disqualify the pianist.


  1. Total performance times include applause and pauses, and will be strictly enforced. The jury retains the right to stop a performance if the pianist exceeds the allotted time.
  2. All works must be performed in their entirety. Separate movements of larger works will be accepted but must be performed in their entirety. Repeats are at the discretion of the pianist.
  3. If requested, the pianist must supply a copy of the edition of the score used in preparation of each work performed to the jury.
  4. Changes in submitted repertoire or running order may be made only with permission of the Cliburn. No changes will be accepted after April 5, 2019. Any proposed changes must include timings.


  1. The prizes and awards specified on the Cliburn website will constitute the only prizes and awards of the Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival. No other prizes, awards, or remunerations will be permitted, except by express decision of the Cliburn.
  2. Taxes will be deducted from prizes according to United States tax laws in effect at the time of the Competition.
  3. A portion of the prize is related to furthering musical advancement. If one or any of the top three prizewinners does not make a suitable proposal for the use of the scholarship money within one year of the Competition, that winner forfeits this portion of the prize, at the discretion of the president and CEO of the Cliburn.


  1. Applicant shall not commit any act or do anything which might tend to bring Applicant into public disrepute, contempt, scandal, or ridicule, or which might tend to reflect unfavorably on the Cliburn, or any sponsor, donor, or partner of the Cliburn. If at any time, Applicant is involved in any such situation or occurrence during the application process, the period between the selection of competitors and the Competition, and/or during the Competition, the Cliburn has the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action it deems appropriate, including but not limited to disqualification from the Competition or revocation of any awards.
  2. All rounds of the Competition may be broadcast live or may be recorded and videotaped for subsequent broadcast, video, or audio recording use. All Competition events may be photographed and/or recorded and videotaped. The Cliburn reserves the right to duplicate, distribute, broadcast, display, and otherwise use all recordings, and the names and/or likenesses of all competitors, for any purposes on any platform, whether now known or yet devised. Neither the Cliburn, nor its assignees or licensees may be held liable for any payments to pianists arising out of materials derived from any Competition performances and/or events. Applicants are required to sign a release form yielding all rights on such materials to the Cliburn, its assignees, or licenses.
  3. All information contained in this document is correct at the time of publication. However, the Cliburn reserves the right to make any changes if circumstances dictate.


Mrs. Laura Bush, honorary chairman  I  The Jury  I  Artistic Collaborators  I  Competitors