America's Longest-Running Piano Competition in Cincinnati Ends

May 24, 2017

The Cincinnati World Piano Competition is closing its doors after 60 years. It was recently announced that they were unable to raise the $300,000 needed to keep it going.

Founded in 1956 by Gloria G. Ackerman, the annual event became the longest-running piano competition in the country and an important opportunity to further the development of outstanding young pianists.

Here's the winner of the 2013 competition, Marianna Prjevalskaya:

In 2015, one young contestant was so highly motivated and energized she played until her fingers bled:

In recent years, the competition formed a partnership with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, which hosted the annual event. Pianist Awadagin Pratt, who served as artistic director of the competition since 2013, has been credited with implementing "some needed innovations," but apparently in the end, money was the issue.

Up north, the bi-annual Cleveland International Piano Competition, running since 1975, is still going. But the end of the Cincinnati World Piano Competition is a sign of the times, perhaps that funding for the arts is in a fragile situation and should never be taken for granted.