Contests: Success by Short Cut

Time was, any concert soloist worth his cadenza had to spend several long, lean years on the road building a reputation. Today, budding virtuosos are rerouting their careers to take advantage of a new short cut to instant success: contests. More combat than competition, music tournaments have grown in size and importance to the point where there is a contest among contests, each one claiming to be more prestigious than the next. But when it comes to money, none can match Fort Worth's Van Cliburn International Quadrennial Piano Competition, which offers a top prize of $10,000 and a...

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