The Van Cliburn Competition starts today. Like the previous competition in 2005, they are streaming live video. I'll probably get sucked into watching quite a bit, though there are almost *no* really intriguing programs posted. Oh, there's the occassional rarity from the peripherary of the 19th- or early 20th-c. canon, but my cursory glance didn't notice a sudden uptick in Ligeti etudes (for crying out loud, these should be canonic by now) or anything like that.
In the second round the competitors have to program one of the four pieces in the running for a composition prize, the American Composers Invitational. The composers are Mason Bates, Derek Bermel, Daron Hagen, and John Musto. The partial glance I made through the programs suggests that the Hagen piece will get the most play.
One of the most entertaining things about the last Cliburn was following the blog and its comments. The latter are everything you could expect -- earnest, snarky, penetrating, backstabbing, etc. Conspiracy theories abounded (especially about whether a particular professor had undue influence over the fate of her many affiliated students).