Chronicles the Fifth International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, hosted by The Van Cliburn Foundation. Players from all over the world, ranging from self-taught to ... See full summary »


Alex Rotaru
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Credited cast:
Henri Robert Delbeau Henri Robert Delbeau ... Self
Mark Fuller Mark Fuller ... Self
Clark Griffith Clark Griffith ... Self
Ken Iisaka Ken Iisaka ... Self
Slava Levin Slava Levin ... Self
Drew Mays Drew Mays ... Self
Suzanna Perez Suzanna Perez ... Self
Richard Rodzinski Richard Rodzinski ... Self
Esfir Ross Esfir Ross ... Self
Kathy Trafton Kathy Trafton ... Self


Chronicles the Fifth International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, hosted by The Van Cliburn Foundation. Players from all over the world, ranging from self-taught to classically-trained, aged thirty-five to almost eighty, convene in Fort Worth, Texas for a week of intense competition, music and camaraderie. The film the film provides an intimate look into the lives of these colorful, multi-faceted competitors as they strive to balance the demands of work and family with their love of music. Years of dedicated preparation culminate in critical performances before a professional jury and discerning audience during three nerve-wracking elimination rounds. Written by Anonymous

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Documentary | Music


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A documentary as vibrant as those it documents
15 March 2013 | by mbhscarpenterSee all my reviews

In case you are unfamiliar, the background to this documentary is an amateur piano competition inspired by one of the great virtuosic pianists of the 20th century, Van Cliburn. The film follows the lives of maybe 10-15 of the competitors, capturing their highs and lows during the competition and telling their individual stories.

Even when one considers the remarkable musical accompaniment provided to the film by the competition, the beauty of this piece is found in the competitors themselves.

In each of the amateur pianists, the viewer finds something familiar -- admittedly with greater frequency and magnitude in some than others. The director chose such a diverse cross-section of personalities and personal histories -- from the relatively not-uncommon to the fascinating and even, on occasion, absurd -- that it is just as easy to believe that the person sitting in the concert hall before the piano, hands sweating, heart racing, creating beautiful music for the world, is you. And in a sense, as this is an amateur competition, maybe it is.

I am not a gifted musician, but the message of this documentary rings as true for me as does Mozart/Bach/Rachmaninoff from the Steinway. I think a quote from Maestro Cliburn near the beginning of the documentary aptly captures the production's spirit.

"Musical inspiration is the gift of God. Use it with the purest of motives. Aim high and consider yourself capable of great things. Lend your talents to the world to make it better."

The second half of the quote -- beginning with "aim high" -- articulates the message that every person, regardless of musical aptitude, can take from this documentary. It is at once delightfully entertaining and happily inspiring.

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25 October 2008 (USA) See more »

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