- Official Cliburn Foundation press release
- Star-Telegram story
- THINK TV interview with Richard Rodzinski
- KERA radio story:
- Expanded online story:
Richard Rodzinski, president of the Van Cliburn Foundation, announced his retirement Tuesday. He led the foundation for 23 years and six competitions, bringing the prestigious Cliburn piano contest into the world of live webcasts.
Rodzinski turns 65 in January and his current contract with the Cliburn expires in February. So a transition in the Fort Worth foundation’s leadership, he says, was not unexpected.
RODZINSKI: “This is something that has long been in the planning. We’ve been working with a management group and we had designated 65 as a very good target for retirement.”
But Rodzinski may leave before his contract ends. He has another opportunity, he says, that he can’t announce yet. Two other staff members recently left the foundation, but their departures aren’t related, Rodzinski says. Coming once every four years, the Cliburn competition has a cyclical nature.
RODZINSKI: “Even though we do fill the period between competitions, it’s difficult to sustain staffs and keep them interested.”
In his more than two decades at the Cliburn, Rodzinski says he worked to refine and innovate. Many of the competiton’s procedures simply needed fine-tuning. He instituted live worldwide auditions and he freed up the pianists’ repertoire, so they weren’t shackled to playing the same pieces. He expanded the number of commissioned new works, so the competitors had a choice. He saw the Cliburn as an audition for real careers in classical music.
But Rodzinski also broadened the foundation’s range, establishing a contest for amateur pianists. He created the Cliburn at the Modern concert series. He produced award-winning television documentaries, and for the latest Cliburn competition, the 13th, which ended June 7, he launched unprecedented live web coverage, reaching 156 countries.
The Cliburn Foundation announced that a search for Rodzinski’s successor will begin immediately.