The CLEVELAND INTERNATIONAL PIANO COMPETITION, formerly the Robert Casadesus Intl. Piano Competition, was organized by the Casadesus Society in collaboration with the CLEVELAND INSTITUTE OF MUSIC to honor the memory of Robt. Casadesus (d. Sept. 1972), the great French pianist, composer, and teacher. The initiative to create the competition was taken by his wife, Gaby Casadesus, and Cleveland was selected as the site because of the close ties between Casadesus, GEO. SZELL, and the CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA. Organized in 1975, the biennial event occurs in August of odd-numbered years and is open to pianists ages 17-32 from all nations. From hundreds of applicants, 40-60 are invited to CIM to compete in a narrowing process that produces 12 semi-finalists. From these are selected 4 finalists who must perform solo recitals as well as a concerto with orchestra. The 12 jurors represent a worldwide spectrum including Asian and Russian seats. Prizes for the winner in 1993 included a New York recital debut, a compact disc recording, and numerous concert engagements in America, France, and Japan, including an appearance with the Cleveland Orchestra and a solo recital at the CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART. Runners-up receive cash prizes as well as special prizes in various categories. Past winners include Sergei Babyan (1989), who later taught selected students at CIM, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet (2nd place, 1979), who has enjoyed an international career, including appearances and recordings with the Cleveland Orchestra. In 1994 the Piano Intl. Assn. was formed to continue hosting the competition, which, in 1995, was renamed the Cleveland Intl. Piano Competition. 225 applicants from 43 countries applied for the 1995 competition, and 60 of these were invited to come to Cleveland. Funding for the competition comes from private individuals, foundations, and corporations.

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