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More popular than Game of Thrones? Fort Worth's Cliburn competition gets millions of views

Yunchan Lim performing at the 16th Cliburn Competition
Ralph Lauer
Cliburn Competition
Yunchan Lim performing at the 16th Cliburn Competition

Four years ago, the Cliburn Piano Competition's webcast got 5 million views globally. This year? 25 million.

Not only that, the classical music competition's most popular video online — Yunchan Lim's performance of Rachmaninov's 3rd Piano Concerto with Marin Aslop and the Fort Worth Symphony — reached 7 million viewers alone. That had it trending in YouTube's top 24 videos.


The Cliburn released its figures last week. The classical website,, put those numbers in comparison with the premieres of popular streaming entertainments: "Game of Thrones" — 2.22 million views. "The Walking Dead" — 5.35 million views.

Yunchan Lim 임윤찬 – RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, op. 30 – 2022 Cliburn Competition

The Cliburn has cultivated an international audience — especially in Asia — since 2001 when it presented the first classical music competition broadcast live. Since then, it's developed a significant online presence with sophisticated performance videos: webcasts, interviews, social media.

Even so, the 16th edition of the Cliburn, June 2-18 earlier this year, reached a record-breaking audience in 177 countries. The audience was 50 times the size for 2013's contest. Cliburn's subscription numbers quintupled to 100,000.

Got a tip? Email Jerome Weeks at You can follow him on Twitter @dazeandweex.

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Jerome Weeks is the Art&Seek producer-reporter for KERA. A professional critic for more than two decades, he was the book columnist for The Dallas Morning News for ten years and the paper’s theater critic for ten years before that. His writing has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, American Theatre and Men’s Vogue magazines.