May 30, 2008- A gastroenterologist from Maryland, Christopher Shih, has been named winner of the first YouTube Conest for amateur pianists, presented by the Van Cliburn Foundation in Fort Worth, Texas. His entry was an assured and colorful performance of Los requiebros from Goyescas by Granados. Dr. Shih, 35, will now gain automatic entry, application fee-free, to the next Cliburn International Competition for Outstanding Amateurs in 2011. About 2,400 people voted online, choosing among 41 amateurs (age 35 and older) who uploaded video performances of 5-10 minutes in length on YouTube. Dr. Shih, who earned his medical degree at Johns Hopkins, is affiliated with the Maryland Digestive Disease Center, which has offices in Ellicott City, Laurel and Takoma Park.
The YouTube contest provides extra attention to the Cliburn competition for amateurs; a second such contest will be held in 2009. The foundation’s primary work, of course, remains the Cliburn International Piano Competition, named after the sensational American pianist Van Cliburn, who won the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958.