The Cliburn

Van Cliburn Piano Competion 2013

Sean Chen

2013 crystal award winner

Age as of Competition: 24
United States


“It was a muscular, impassioned performance, and you felt that he is an artist with something to say.” –Cincinnati Enquirer

Hailed as a charismatic rising star, pianist Sean Chen won over fans and critics at the 2013 Cliburn Competition with “an exceptional ability to connect with an audience combined with an easy virtuosity” (Huffington Post). The first American to earn a Cliburn award since 1997, he took home third prize, just months after being named the 2013 Christel DeHaan Classical Fellow of the American Pianists Association. In the 2014–15 season, Mr. Chen performs with the Milwaukee, San Diego, and Hartford Symphony Orchestras, and will also traverse the United States in recital and chamber concerts. The 2013–14 season saw the release of two solo albums. Recording label harmonia mundi released a live CD of his Cliburn Competition performances in November 2013, featuring Beethoven’s monumental “Hammerklavier” sonata, as well as works by Brahms and Bartók, which Gramophone praised for “ravishing tone and cogently contoured lines,” and Limelight proclaimed to be “bold and fresh-faced.” This was followed by a studio album released in spring 2014 on the Steinway label with works by Scriabin and Ravel, including his own revelatory arrangement of Ravel’s La valse.


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Sean Chen on Tour

Our Mission

It is the mission of the Cliburn to advance classical piano music throughout the world. Its international competitions, education programs, and concert series embody an enduring commitment to artistic excellence and the discovery of young artists.



The Cliburn is a not-for-profit organization governed by a board of directors, elected for a four year term. It is sustained by the generous support from individuals, foundations, corporations, the tireless efforts of volunteers, and embraced by the community of Fort Worth. The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition is a proud member of the World Federation of International Music Competitions.


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