Clark Griffith hopes the last shall be first.
The only Tarrant County contestant in this week's Cliburn Amateur competition to advance to the semifinal round, Griffith will be the very last pianist to play tonight -- at the pitch-perfect time of 9:18 p.m. -- before the jury deliberates and announces the finalists, narrowing the field from 25 to six.
"I am feeling really good about that," Griffith, 47, a Fort Worth retired database programmer, said by phone Friday.
The semifinalists draw for the order of play. When he was a contestant four years ago, Griffith drew the much-maligned No. 1 spot. It was a lucky one; he made it to the finals, where he also played first -- and in the end, he took home third place.
On Friday, Griffith, was at home practicing and listening to the other semifinalists via the Cliburn's webcast (watch at www.dfw.com/cliburn). His Saturday night repertoire will include a Chopin mazurka, Bach's Goldberg Variations and a Rachmaninoff prelude.
"I am really looking forward to [Saturday] night because it will be probably the biggest crowd we've had so far," he said; most of the semifinalists probably will be back in Ed Landreth Auditorium then, ready to wait for the jury's decision.
Saturday schedule: The remaining 12 semifinalists play from 2 to 5 p.m. and again from 7:30 to 9:45 p.m.
The announcement of the finalists will be made about 10 p.m.
A Press Jury Symposium, free and open to the public, takes place at 10 a.m. in PepsiCo Recital Hall at TCU. (See story, page 1E.)
Finals: The final round play takes place 1-4:40 p.m. Sunday. The winners will be announced about 6:30 p.m.
Tickets: Tickets to the semifinals ($25) and finals ($35) may be purchased at Ed Landreth Auditorium. For more information, call 817-738-6536 or visit www.cliburn.org.
More coverage: Follow our blog, "Notes from the Cliburn," and watch the webcast at www.dfw.com/cliburn; follow our Twitter feed all weekend at FWST_YourLife.