I remember Van—
Pianist Van Cliburn died a few days ago, after a long illness. It was in April, 1958.
Mr. Cliburn achieved his greatest success during very turbulent times on the political front. The Soviet Union had launched their Sputnik satellite, and feeling between our two nations very tense. Then comes the Tchaikovsky Piano competition in Moscow. One of the participants was this tall, skinny lad from Texas by the name of Van Cliburn. He won first place by huge acclamation.
Not only was Mr. Cliburn an accomplished musician, but he also had a way of expressing and exuding his charm with the Russian public. So the folks in the audience during that time fell in love with him.
Ultimately Cliburn returned to the US, and my recollection is that he was given a ticker tape parade in New York City to celebrate his great success.
In later years Mr. Cliburn was only occasionally seen in public during the US piano competition named in his honor. How sad it is that this life had to end as a result of bone Cancer… May he rest in Peace.
Let’s now hear his music:
Here is Cliburn, performing the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1
Here’s a brief announcement of this great accomplishment:
Here is Van CLIBURN playing RACHMANINOV’s third piano Concerto in Moscow 1958:
Tags: Van Cliburn, Death, Moscow, Tchaikovsky piano competition