TCU’s Van Cliburn Concert Hall Opening Honors Pianist’s Russian Victory
The long-awaited opening of the new Van Cliburn Concert Hall at TCU will serve as a poignant reminder of the power of music in the world.
The new state-of-the-art concert hall will debut with a month-long celebration in April, the university announced.
To inaugurate the hall, Russian pianist Olga Kern, winner of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2001, will perform with the TCU Symphony Orchestra. This concert will take place on April 13, the exact anniversary of Cliburn’s triumph at the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow in 1958.
The tall, lanky 23-year-old Texan’s victory in Russia was seen as a watershed thaw in Cold War relations – a joyous vignette of history worth revisiting in light of today’s world affairs. today.
When Cliburn died in February 2013 at the age of 78 in Fort Worth, he was still known by a title given to a Weather magazine cover: “The Texan Who Conquered Russia”.
New addition to Fort Worth
TCU’s Van Cliburn Concert Hall is part of the new $53 million TCU Music Center, which partially opened in fall 2020. It offers more than 7,500 square feet of rehearsal space and resources learning for TCU’s band, orchestra and percussion programs.
The 717-seat concert hall “has an acoustic volume similar to halls that have double or triple the seating capacity,” TCU said in a press release. “The impressive, yet intimate, concert hall is designed to rival well-known venues such as Fort Worth’s Bass Performance Hall and the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas.”
To clarify, the new Van Cliburn Concert Hall at TCU is different from the smaller Van Cliburn Recital Hall, which is part of the Bass Hall complex in downtown Fort Worth. (The words “at TCU” are part of the full name, in fact, for focus on that the concert hall is on the campus of Texas Christian University and it is not the downtown recital hall.)
To clarify part two: When screening the auditions for the Sixteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition on the TCU campus for the first time, March 6-12, they do not be at the Van Cliburn Concert Hall at TCU; they will be at the PepsiCo Recital Hall. But the early rounds of the Cliburn contest will be be at the Cliburn Concert Hall in June.
The first public performance in TCU’s Van Cliburn Concert Hall will be April 8 and will feature the TCU Frog Corps, one of the university’s male vocal ensembles and spirit groups.
After that, performances will take place in the concert hall most nights until the end of April, according to the school. The night after Olga Kern’s concert on April 13, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra will take the stage on April 14. A complete list of performances with dates, times, and ticket information is listed on the TCU School of Music’s online schedule.
The TCU Music Center and TCU’s VCCH were built as part of TCU’s “Vision in Action: Lead On” strategic plan to support the university’s nationally recognized School of Music. It is located on the east side of campus, joining the Fine Arts Building, Mary Couts Burnett Library, JM Moudy Visual Arts and Communications Building, and Rees-Jones Hall to form “the Creative Commons”, a green space designed for outdoor performances, events and gatherings on campus.
In addition to hosting TCU music performances, the concert hall will feature events from other arts organizations, they say.
According to the release, some key features of the concert hall and music center include:
- Carefully selected materials to create the perfect acoustic environment. (The room itself is a separate structure within the larger building, so outside sound won’t impact performance.)
- On the second floor, the Van Cliburn Life & Legacy exhibit will feature memorabilia and an interactive touchscreen will contain links to a website to learn more about Cliburn – his Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award, Presidential Medal of Freedom, Kennedy Center Honors Award, letters and photos with several American presidents.
- Enough rehearsal space for TCU’s many musical ensembles (for the first time), including the Horned Frog Marching Band and the TCU Symphony Orchestra, which has over 200 members.
“I cannot overstate how much the TCU Music Center has already transformed the school of music,” Sean Atkinson, director of the TCU School of Music, said in the statement. “With the opening of the Van Cliburn Concert Hall at TCU, our students will have access to an incredible performance venue on campus to enrich their education and share their talents more widely.”