Crescendo is set against an unprecedented backdrop of global geopolitics as 30 of the world’s most promising musicians travel to Fort Worth, Texas, to compete in the renowned Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Vying for gold and their shot at classical piano stardom, the contestants showcase their talent and voices through six intense, high-stakes performances, with multiple elimination rounds, a discerning panel of jurists, and audiences numbering thousands in person and millions online.

Behind the scenes, stories of adversity, sacrifice, and heartbreak drive the pianists to perform at the highest level. As fan favorites and early contenders are eliminated, one unassuming genius rises to the top. Featuring never-before-seen footage of our extraordinary competitors, including Gold Medalist and international sensation Yunchan Lim.

Runtime: 111 minutesExecutive Producers: Red Sanders, Jacques Marquis, Maggie EstesDirected and Produced by Heather WilkEdited by Jonathan Broughton and Sam Parnell


19-year-old pianist Yunchan Lim’s ascent to international stardom has been meteoric. In June 2022, he became the youngest person ever to win gold at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. His Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3, with Marin Alsop and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in the Finals, quickly became the most-watched video of that piece of all time (currently at 12 million views and counting) and was named one of The New York Times‘ “Best Classical Music Performances of 2022.” Invitations from the most prestigious concert halls and orchestras immediately followed, including engagements with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Baltimore Symphony, and Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestras, and Orchestre de Paris; festival appearances at Aspen, Bravo! Vail, and Ravinia; and recitals for Carnegie Hall, Washington Performing Arts at the Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall, Het Concertgebouw, Suntory Hall, and Seoul Arts Center. As the Evening Standard noted following his Wigmore debut: “We’re at the start of something special.”


Widely considered one of the preeminent international music contests, the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition exists to share excellent classical music with the largest international audience possible and to launch the careers of its winners every four years. Building on a rich tradition that began with its 1962 origins in honor of Van Cliburn and his vision for using music to serve audiences and break down boundaries, the Cliburn seeks, with each edition, to achieve the highest artistic standards while utilizing contemporary tools to advance its reach. Beyond cash prizes, winning a Cliburn medal means comprehensive career management, artistic support, and bolstered publicity efforts for the three years following.

In June 2022, the world’s top 18- to 30-year-old pianists convened in Fort Worth, Texas, USA, to compete for gold in the Competition’s sixteenth edition. Against an unprecedented international backdrop, the transcendence of music triumphed in front of an in-person audience numbering in the thousands, as well as a live global online viewership in the millions. The event became one of the most-watched classical music events of all time, amassing more than 40 million views across 177 countries.


Red Entertainment creates quality original content with positive themes inspired by the modern west. We call Fort Worth, Texas, home but have offices in LA and Austin. From feature films to TV series, Red Entertainment partners with creative teams and distinguished capital partners to tell incredible stories. Recent non-fiction projects include Self Employed on MAX and Show Business Is My Life, But I Can’t Prove It, a feature documentary about comedy legend Gary Mule Deer featuring Steve Martin, Jay Leno, David Letterman, and Conan O’Brien.


The Cliburn advances classical piano music throughout the world. Its international competitions, education programs, and concert series embody an enduring commitment to artistic excellence and the discovery of new artists. Established in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1962, the quadrennial Van Cliburn International Piano Competition (seventeenth edition, May 21–June 7, 2025) remains the most visible expression of that mission and is, as always, committed to its original ideals of supporting and launching the careers of emerging artists, age 18–30. It shares the transformative powers of music with a wide global audience, through fully produced webcasts and by providing comprehensive career management and concert bookings to its winners. Rounding out its mission, the Cliburn also produces the Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival (fourth edition, June 2027) for exceptional 13- to 17-year-old pianists and the Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition (ninth edition, June 2028) for outstanding non-professional pianists age 35 and older.

Over a four-year cycle, the Cliburn contributes to North Texas’ cultural landscape with over 170 classical music performances for 150,000 attendees through competitions, free community concerts, and its signature Cliburn Concerts series. It presents 1,000 Cliburn in the Classroom in-school, interactive music education programs for more than 200,000 area elementary students. During the same time period, it garners the world’s attention with more than 45 million views from 177 nations for competition webcasts; 300 concerts worldwide booked for competition winners; more than 10,000 news articles about the Cliburn and its winners; and regular national radio broadcasts to 245 public radio stations.