FORT WORTH, Texas -- Long before the musicians arrive, the stage is being set at the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth. Seat heights are carefully adjusted and the piano meticulously tuned.
"When you focus on the love and the beauty and the truth of the music, then that will be conveyed to the audience," said Elizabeth Joy Roe. "In the music world at large, especially in the piano world, this is almost seen as the piano Olympics, " Roe continued.
"A good performance at the Cliburn can absolutely change your career because the world is watching you. A distinguished panel of judges is watching you," Anderson said.
Nearly 300 pianists between 18 and 30 years old auditioned for a spot, but only 30 made the cut. The competition was founded by world renowned, Fort Worth Pianist, Van Cliburn in 1962. It's designed to propel the careers of the three finalists. A good showing on this stage can lead to hundreds of concert bookings around the world.
"The challenge is finding a way to turn the nerves into excitement -- to turn something that might be a negative energy and actually turn it into an asset, this excitement, this thrill of sharing extremely exciting music with the world. If you can successfully do that, your potential as a pianist is multiplied," Anderson said.