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The Van Cliburn Loses Another President

by Jerome Weeks 15 Nov 2012

When the president you hired to take over from the interim president leaves after six months and then the once-again interim prez resigns after a year — and your piano contest is only six months away … what do you do? Get another interim.


The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Alann Sampson, interim president and CEO of the Van Cliburn Foundation, has abruptly resigned — with the famous international piano competition only six months away.

Sampson joined the Cliburn as a volunteer before the very first competition in 1962 and had been the board chair until 2009, when Richard Rodzinski resigned as president after 23 years. She stepped in — as staff members began departing. Even David Worters — hired to replace Sampson as president — left in 2011 after only six months in the job.

Nonetheless, Cliburn board chair Clara Thompson tells the Star-Telegram that Sampson’s resignation was “not cause for broader concern.”

“We’ve got management that is covering all this. There is not a gap. There is no vacancy. We’re fine. The number of [contestan] applications are soaring.”

She will be replaced on an interim basis by Jacques Marquis, who joined the Cliburn staff last summer. Sampson’s departure happened so quickly – they haven’t removed her name or title from the website.

Thompson said she hoped a replacement would be chosen by early next year. Sampson could not be reached for comment.