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Olga Kern, chairman of the jury for the Seventh Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition (June 19–25, 2016), at Van Cliburn Recital Hall and Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, Texas, announced the 12 pianists advancing to the Semifinal Round. The 12 semifinalists represent seven countries.

The semifinalists are:

Xavier Aymonod, 40, strategy consultant (France)

Deirbhile Brennan, 46, accountant (Ireland)

Gorden Cheng, 35, systems engineer (United States)

Jeanne Backofen Craig, 46, homemaker/part-time minister of music (United States)

Matthias Fischer, 42, physician (Germany)

Ken Iisaka, 47, software engineer (Japan/Canada)

Gregory Knight, 53, software engineer (United States)

Yasuo Kurimoto, 55, ophthalmologist (Japan)

Lana C. Marina, 47, stay-at-home mother (United States)

Michael Slavin, 65, retired ophthalmologist (United States)

Sean Sutherland, 39, entrepreneur/lecturer (St. Vincent and the Grenadines/Canada)

Thomas Yu, 38, periodontist (Canada)

Click here for Competitor bios.

For the complete schedule of Semifinal Round performances, click here or see below.

For downloadable press photos of the semifinalists click here.

During the two days of the Quarterfinal Round (June 21–22), 30 competitors played 15–18 minute recitals. They performed live at Van Cliburn Recital Hall before the seven-member jury and hundreds of patrons, as well as to a worldwide audience via the Competition’s live, fully produced webcast. View the entire Competition live and on demand at Cliburn.org.


The Semifinal Round will include two concerts on June 23. Twelve pianists will each perform a recital program of 25–28 minutes at Van Cliburn Recital Hall. Competitors will keep the same performance order as the Quarterfinal Round.



Semifinal Round Concert 1 2:00 p.m. CDT Matthias Fischer, 42, physician (Germany)
2:30 p.m. Jeanne Backofen Craig, 46, homemaker/part-time minister of music (United States)
–intermission– 3:15 p.m. Thomas Yu, 38, periodontist (Canada)
3:45 p.m. Deirbhile Brennan, 46, accountant (Ireland)
–intermission– 4:30 p.m. Gorden Cheng, 35, systems engineer (United States)
5:00 p.m. Sean Sutherland, 39, entrepreneur/lecturer (St. Vincent and the Grenadines/Canada)

Semifinal Round Concert 2 7:00 p.m. CDT Yasuo Kurimoto, 55, ophthalmologist (Japan)
7:30 p.m. Lana C. Marina, 47, stay-at-home mother (United States)
–intermission– 8:15 p.m. Xavier Aymonod, 40, strategy consultant (France)
8:45 p.m. Ken Iisaka, 47, software engineer (Japan/Canada)
–intermission– 9:30 p.m. Gregory Knight, 53, software engineer (United States)
10:00 p.m. Michael Slavin, 65, retired ophthalmologist (United States)

This schedule is subject to change.


LIVE WEBCAST: All performances will be streamed live online at Cliburn.org and made available for on-demand viewing. Hosted by Shields-Collins Bray, this CLIBURN LIVE broadcast will feature over 40 hours of performance, awards ceremonies, commentary, and interviews, providing a behind-the-scenes view into the Competition.

ONLINE CHAT: Webcast viewers will also have the chance to chat with each other online at Cliburn.org, sharing their thoughts and cheering on their favorite competitors.

AUDIENCE VOTE: During the Competition, visit Cliburn.org to vote for your favorite competitor. You’ll be able to vote once a day for any competitor still active in the Competition. The Audience Award will be given to the competitor with the most number of votes at the conclusion of the Final Round.

#CliburnAmateur Participate on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Share with your friends and followers, so that they can enjoy the Amateur Competition along with you! Use the #CliburnAmateur hashtag, and we’ll share and retweet.


The Seventh Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition will take place June 19–25, 2016, in Fort Worth, Texas, in Van Cliburn Recital Hall and Bass Performance Hall.

The Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition is open to non-professional pianists age 35 and older who do not derive their principal source of income through piano performance or instruction. Established in 1999 as the first of its kind in the United States, the quadrennial festival promotes lifelong music making as a vital part of daily life and has drawn 69 competitors this year. (Click here for competitor bios.) Cliburn Live will webcast 40 hours of live performances, interviews, and an awards ceremony over the seven-day period at Cliburn.org. Subscriptions and single tickets are on sale now. Tickets are $20 for the Semifinal Round. Tickets to the Final Round and Awards Ceremony, at Bass Performance Hall, range from $10 to $60; visit cliburn.org or call 817.212.4280 for more information.

ABOUT THE CLIBURN 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 1962, the quadrennial Van Cliburn International Piano Competition (Fifteenth edition, May 25–June 10, 2017) is widely-recognized as “one of the world’s highest-visibility classical-music contests” (The Dallas Morning News) and remains committed to its original ideals of supporting and launching the careers of young pianists, age 18 to 30.  It shares the transformative powers of music with a wide global audience, through a fully-produced webcast and by providing commission-free, comprehensive career management and concert bookings to its winners. Rounding out its mission, the Cliburn also produces the Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition for outstanding non-professional pianists 35 and older, and held its inaugural Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival in June 2015, for exceptional 13 to 17-year-old pianists (Second edition, June 2019).

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 at Bass Performance Hall, the Kimbell Art Museum Piano Pavilion, and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. It presents 1,000 in-school, interactive music education programs for 200,000 area elementary students. During the same time period, it garners the world’s attention with over one million visits from 155 nations for live concert and competition webcasts; 300 concerts worldwide booked for competition winners; more than 5,000 news articles about the Cliburn and its winners; regular national radio broadcasts to 245 public radio stations; and a PBS documentary airing in a potential 105 million households.

Detailed information about the Cliburn and its programs is available at Cliburn.org.