After an international search of nearly a year, the Cliburn Foundation found its new president in North Carolina. David Chambless Worters, 42, an executive with several orchestras over a two-decade career in arts management, today was named the Cliburn's new president and chief executive officer.
Worters, currently president of the North Carolina Symphony in Raleigh, will be responsible for producing the Cliburn Foundation's competition for outstanding amateurs next year, as well as its flagship Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2013.
"He possesses a deep passion for our mission and a focused understanding of our future challenges and opportunities," said Alann Sampson, chairwoman of the Cliburn board. "His intellect, vigor and experience herald a long period of fulfillment and growth for the Cliburn."
Worters replaces Richard Rodzinski, whose 23-year stint at the Cliburn ended after last year's competition. Rodzinski left the Cliburn to take an executive position with the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. The quadrennial Cliburn Competition is considered among the world's finest, and one of the most prominent cultural events in Fort Worth. Cliburn winners go on to enjoy scores of engagements around the world and years of management by the foundation.
"This is truly and literally a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in that this position has not been vacant during my professional lifetime," Worters said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "I grew up with the piano, the piano is my first love and for a pianist-turned-administrator this is the holy grail. We are excited as we can be."
An amateur pianist himself, Worters is the son of a piano teacher, Sylvia Chambless, who studied at the Juilliard School under the same teacher as Van Cliburn himself. He graduated from Harvard in 1989 before embarking on a career in arts management. Worters led orchestras in Indiana and Syracuse before joining the North Carolina Symphony in Raleigh in 1999.
He is married to Rebecca Worters, an artist, and they have two children, Olivia, 7, and Eli, 11. He begins his new duties with the Cliburn on Dec. 1.
"David is a cultured gentleman who brings with him academic credentials ... coupled with a lifetime of knowledge and genuine love for the art of great music," Van Cliburn said.
Tim Madigan, 817-390-7544