Grand opening of Van Cliburn Concert Hall at TCU will honor iconic pianist's triumph in Russia
The long-awaited opening of the new Van Cliburn Concert Hall at TCU will serve as a poignant reminder of the power of music around the world.
The new state-of-the-art concert venue will debut with a monthlong celebration in April, the university announced.
To inaugurate the hall, Russian pianist Olga Kern — a winner of the 2001 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition — will perform with the TCU Symphony Orchestra. That concert will take place April 13, the exact anniversary of Cliburn's triumph at the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow in 1958.
When Cliburn passed away in February 2013 at the age of 78 in Fort Worth, he was still known by a title bestowed on a Time magazine cover: "The Texan who conquered Russia."
New addition to Fort Worth
The Van Cliburn Concert Hall at TCU is part of the new $53 million TCU Music Center, which partially opened in fall 2020. It provides more than 7,500 square feet of rehearsal space and learning resources for TCU’s band, orchestra, and percussion programs.
The 717-seat concert hall "has an acoustical volume similar to venues that have double to triple the seating capacity," TCU says 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, part of the Bass Hall complex in downtown Fort Worth. (The words "at TCU" are part of the full name, in fact, to emphasize that the concert hall is on the Texas Christian University campus and it's not the recital hall downtown.)
To clarify part two: When screening auditions for the Sixteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition come to the TCU campus for the first time, March 6-12, they will not be at Van Cliburn Concert Hall at TCU; they'll be at the PepsiCo Recital Hall. But the first rounds of the Cliburn competition will be at the Cliburn Concert Hall in June.
Grand opening plans
The first public performance in the Van Cliburn Concert Hall at TCU will take place April 8 and will feature the TCU Frog Corps, one of the university’s male vocal ensembles and spirit groups.
Then performances will take place in the concert hall almost nightly through the end of April, the school says. The night after the Olga Kern concert on April 13, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra will take the stage April 14. A full list of performances with dates, times, and ticket information is listed on TCU School of Music’s online calendar.
The TCU Music Center and VCCH at TCU were built as part of TCU’s "Vision in Action: Lead On" strategic plan to support the university's nationally renowned School of Music. It is located on the east side of campus, joining the Fine Arts Building, Mary Couts Burnett Library, J.M. Moudy Visual Arts and Communication Building, and Rees-Jones Hall to form "the Creative Commons," a green space designed for outdoor performances, events, and campus gatherings.
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 hall itself is a separate structure within the larger building so outside sound will not impact performances.)
- On the second floor, the Van Cliburn Life & Legacy Exhibit will showcase memorabilia and an interactive touchscreen will have 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 U.S. Presidents.
- Enough rehearsal space for TCU’s many music ensembles (for the first time), including the 200-plus-member Horned Frog Marching Band and TCU Symphony Orchestra.
“I cannot overstate how transformative the TCU Music Center has been for the School of Music already,” says Sean Atkinson, director of the TCU School of Music, in the release. “With the opening of the Van Cliburn Concert Hall at TCU, our students will have access to an incredible on-campus performance venue to enrich their education and share their talents more broadly.”