LSM Newswire

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Richard Rodzinski retires after 23 years as president of Van Cliburn Foundation; new professional opportunity to be announced by year's end

Seamless administrative transition anticipated as Alann Bedford Sampson, four-term board chairman, is named interim executive director

FORT WORTH, TEXAS ĺ─ţRichard Rodzinski, president and executive director of the Van Cliburn Foundation for the past twenty-three years, was honored by the Van Cliburn Foundation board of directors, staff, and arts community colleagues at a tribute on Tuesday evening at Rivercrest Country Club. At the same gathering, board vice chairman Wesley R. Turner announced that effective immediately, Mrs. Alann Bedford Sampson will assume the position of interim executive director.

Mr. Rodzinski was honored by a formal resolution adopted by the cabinet, executive committee, and board of directors of the Van Cliburn Foundation, ĺ─˙expressing appreciation for the outstanding contribution made by Richard Rodzinski to the Van Cliburn Foundation, which during his almost quarter century involvement with the Van Cliburn Foundation, has been instrumental in enabling the Van Cliburn Foundationĺ─˘s Quadrennial International Piano Competition to become regarded by most as the premier piano competition in the world.ĺ─¨ Upon his departure, Mr. Rodzinski will be named president emeritus.

Prior to the reception, 250 invited guests were captivated by a musical salute to Richard Rodzinski played by Stanislav Ioudenitch, winner of the 2001 Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Gold Medal.

Reflecting on his tenure at the Van Cliburn Foundation, Richard Rodzinski remarked: ĺ─˙It has been a true privilege to have been given the opportunity to usher young, deserving musicians onto the world stage and to contribute to their career development. For over two decades, I have enjoyed the unflagging support of an ever-encouraging board and a wonderful staff. Together we have brought some of the finest performances of classical music to the world, both in live concert and through the media. The Cliburn has a great mission that will allow it to flourish for years to come.ĺ─¨

Mr. Rodzinski directed six competitions, beginning in 1986, and served as executive producer of award-winning documentary films aired on PBS and syndicated internationally. In addition, Mr. Rodzinski has instituted numerous advances for the competition, including live screening auditions around the world; voting procedures that have been adopted by other instrumental competitions; a format and schedule designed to showcase its unique festival nature; a competition for American composers held within the International Piano Competition that offers a showcase for new American works; advances in the use of technology, including real-time Internet streaming; and a landmark webcast in 2009.

In 1999, he started the International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, a quadrennial event that alternates with the International Piano Competition. The Amateur Competition has been presented five times. Recognizing his commitment to active adult musical engagement, in 2007 the top prize was named the Richard Rodzinski First Prize Award in his honor and has been endowed in perpetuity.

Mr. Rodzinski produced two decades of the Cliburn Concerts series, bringing musicians of the highest caliber to audiences in the Southwest. He also initiated the Cliburn at the Modern series, which showcases works of living American composers. Committed to developing an appreciation of music in the Cliburnĺ─˘s youngest constituents, he created Musical Awakenings, an education program for elementary school students.ĺ─«ĺ─«Mr. Rodzinskiĺ─˘s philosophy on competitionsĺ─ţwhich follows the analyses of sociologist Leon Festingerĺ─ţhas been widely documented in published papers. He often quotes the author William Goode, also a follower of Festinger, in his own writing, including a reference in his article for the Tenth Competition program book: ĺ─˙Winning a formal award suggests that oneĺ─˘s talents are worthy of respectĺ─Âthe award is a proof that at one point one reached a certain level.ĺ─¨ In naming the first prize for him at the Amateur Competition, and in honoring him with an official resolution on the occasion of his retirement, the Cliburn board of directors has bestowed such an imprimatur of its ongoing esteem for Mr. Rodzinskiĺ─˘s leadership and the lasting impact it will have on the Van Cliburn Foundation.

Of Mrs. Sampsonĺ─˘s appointment, Wesley R. Turner, vice chairman of the Cliburn board, said, ĺ─˙Alann Bedford Sampson has been involved with the Van Cliburn Competition since its inception, and she has a deep knowledge of the Foundation and the Fort Worth community. We are extremely fortunate that Alann is willing to take on the additional responsibility for the day-to-day operation while we conduct a full search for the next executive director. We know that the Foundation is in very good hands.ĺ─¨

Chairman of the Van Cliburn Foundation since 1994, Alann Bedford Sampson has been a volunteer with the Van Cliburn Foundation since the First International Piano Competition in 1962. A member of the board since 1971, she organized and was president of the Cliburn Council in 1975, predecessor of the International Association. A passionate advocate for music as an essential element of a vital daily life and a civilized society, Mrs. Sampson produced the inaugural Cliburn Concerts Series in 1976.

A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in history, Mrs. Sampson helped to organize Fort Worth Country Day School and taught history there from 1963 through 1968, serving as head of the history department and as student council advisor. In 1976, she began a career in banking with the First National Bank of Fort Worth, now Bank of America, and in 1986 was named vice president of private banking there.

Mrs. Sampson was an organizing member of Fort Worth Streams and Valleys in 1969, past president of the Tarrant County Medical Education and Research Foundation, and served on the board of the Junior League of Fort Worth and the Association of Junior League International. Appointed by the mayor and city council in 1972, she was chairman of the 1976 bicentennial celebration. In 1989, she served as chairman of Toast of the Town for the Arts Council, and in 1992 was president of the Jewel Charity Ball benefiting Cook Childrenĺ─˘s Medical Center. In 2007, she was named a Great Woman of Texas.

Reflecting on Mrs. Sampsonĺ─˘s many achievements, Van Cliburn commented: ĺ─˙Alann Bedford Sampson has inspired so many with her remarkable vision and magnetic personality to strengthen the cause of education, great music, and the enrichment of the careers of brilliant young artists. Her dedication and commitment to refinement and cultivation have left an indelible fingerprint on our wonderful city of Fort Worth.ĺ─¨

In addition to her chairmanship of the Van Cliburn Foundation board, Mrs. Sampson serves as a senior trustee of Austin College; on the board of overseers of Curtis Institute of Music; on the International Fine Arts Board of Visitors, College of Fine Arts and Communication of Texas Christian University; and on the boards of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and Streams and Valleys, an environmental organization dedicated to the preservation of Fort Worthĺ─˘s Trinity River.

For more information on the Van Cliburn Foundation, please visit

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