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The Van Cliburn Loses Another President

by Jerome Weeks 15 Nov 2012 1:53 PM

When the president you hired to take over from the interim president leaves after six months and then the once-again interim prez resigns after a year — and your piano contest is only six months away … what do you do? Get another interim.


The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Alann Sampson, interim president and CEO of the Van Cliburn Foundation, has abruptly resigned — with the famous international piano competition only six months away.

Sampson joined the Cliburn as a volunteer before the very first competition in 1962 and had been the board chair until 2009, when Richard Rodzinski resigned as president after 23 years. She stepped in — as staff members began departing. Even David Worters — hired to replace Sampson as president — left in 2011 after only six months in the job.

Nonetheless, Cliburn board chair Clara Thompson tells the Star-Telegram that Sampson’s resignation was “not cause for broader concern.”

“We’ve got management that is covering all this. There is not a gap. There is no vacancy. We’re fine. The number of [contestan] applications are soaring.”

She will be replaced on an interim basis by Jacques Marquis, who joined the Cliburn staff last summer. Sampson’s departure happened so quickly – they haven’t removed her name or title from the website.

Thompson said she hoped a replacement would be chosen by early next year. Sampson could not be reached for comment.