Deljavan drops out of Cleveland Competition

by Michael Johnson Michael Johnson is a music writer based in Bordeaux. He contributes music commentary to Facts & Arts, the International Herald Tribune, Boston Musical Intelligencer, Open Letters Monthly and Clavier Companion, among others. He is a former board member of the London International Piano Competition.

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Alessandro Deljavan, the promising young Italian pianist who emerged as a major contender at the recent Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, has decided to pull out of the Cleveland International Piano Competition just a month before it opens July 3O. He finished at the Cliburn as a semifinalist.

 “After the Cliburn experience,” he wrote in his withdrawal letter,  “… I feel the need to end being part of events where, in most cases, the performance and the talent are in the background.” He did not elaborate. 

Fei-Fei Dong of China, a Juilliard student and a finalist at the Cliburn, has also withdrawn from the Cleveland. Her reasons were not made public.

Deljavan praised the Cleveland Competition as “an important musical event of the highest level” and said he was sorry not to be part of it. He delayed his decision to withdraw, he said,  “to be sure this is the right decision for me.” 

Alessandro Deljavan

Deljavan sparked a lively following at the Cliburn and was praised by fans who heard him on Cliburn webcasts. In Russia there was a reported surge of “Deljamania”. His elimination was considered by many critics to have been controversial. He said he received hundreds of messages of support from across the globe.

Withdrawals from piano competitions are not unusual, but such strong contenders usually persevere.

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