There are more people than you might imagine who have had serious music study, then gone on to entirely different fields. That becomes obvious with the International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, which is organized every few years by the Van Cliburn Foundation in Fort Worth. Bookkeepers, homemakers, engineers, surgeons and people from many other fields get together for music and fellowship. The best are very, very good, and just about everybody seems to have a great time.
The next edition won’t occur until 2011, but the Cliburn Foundation has announced some action that will start right away: a Cliburn YouTube Contest this spring. Amateur performances will go online, and viewers will be able to vote for their favorite. The potential audience is huge, of course. The winner will get free entry into the 2011 contest in Fort Worth.