The Cliburn: Playing on the Edge (PBS)
2001 | Peter Rosen Productions, Inc., KERA-TV, Dallas/Ft. Worth, and vthe Van Cliburn Foundation
The Cliburn: Playing on the Edge focuses on the personal dramas of young performers participating in the renowned Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. This ambitious documentary presents an engrossing view of the aspirations and motivations of selected participants, truly an insider’s look at how classical music is made at its highest levels. The contest, held once every four years, features thirty young pianists representing a dozen countries competing before capacity audiences and 13 jurors. Directed by Peter Rosen with Alan Skog as musical and multi-camera director, and Richard Rodzinski as executive producer, Playing on the Edge examines the eleventh competition. Directors of Photography Juan Barerra and Joel Shapiro film conversations with pianists, host families and jury members as well as performances, and all these scenes are seamlessly edited by Brian Williams into the exuberant account presented here. The film is by turns serious and lighthearted, brilliantly capturing the rich atmosphere of the competition, while also highlighting the personalities and superstitions of the more eccentric characters. The Takacs Quartet is featured during the chamber music phase, playing with the 12 semifinalists, and James Colon conducts the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra during the concerto phase, performing with the six finalists, all captured by Sound Recordist Tom Lazarus. Archival footage of Van Cliburn keeps the historical significance of the event in vivid perspective. As the film nears the climactic moment of the competition two standout competitors, Stanislav Ioudenitch and Olga Kern, are poised to make history in an unforgettable conclusion. A Peabody goes to Peter Rosen Productions and KERA-TV for presenting the proficiency, excitement, anxiety, and flair that inform the personal and professional lives of young artists in The Cliburn: Playing on the Edge.