A HISTORY OF THE ALEXANDER & BUONO COMPETITIONS
When Cosmo Buono began the Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition in 2004, one fact was very clear: large numbers of aspiring pianists, many of them world class, were not being given the opportunities necessary to play professionally. Further, ways to pursue a career, both artistically and financially, remained elusive.
It was for these reasons that Mr. Buono decided to do things differently. He and the late David Bradshaw allowed contestants to submit their applications by mail, along with a recording of their playing, thereby eliminating travel costs. Judges chose multiple first prize winners in five age categories from recordings alone.
Also, instead of offering a monetary prize, they felt it was more important to provide the single, and perhaps most significant credential they knew of to help launch a career—a debut at Carnegie Hall. “After all,” said Mr. Buono, a Steinway Artist, “What good are all those years of study and hard work, if an artist is never heard in performance?”
With the success of the Bradshaw & Buono steadily increasing, Mr. Buono hired Barry Alexander’s publicity firm to help build more visibility for the competition. Given Mr. Alexander’s background as an opera singer, Mr. Buono thought it would also be possible to use the same business model to begin a competition for Voice. They thus created the Barry Alexander International Vocal Competition, which had its first Winners’ Recital at Carnegie Hall in January of 2008. This led to establishing The Alexander & Buono International String Competition inaugurated in November of 2009, and the Alexander & Buono International Flute Competition, which began in 2010.
The four organizations are now known as The Alexander & Buono Competitions, or ABC. Designed to help artists further their careers, ABC presents selected winners of the competitions in concerts throughout the world, and also as part of The Alexander & Buono Festival of Music, held annually in New York. Career guidance and development are also offered, as well as seminars called “The Business of Music,” designed to help artists incorporate a more entrepreneurial focus into their career path.