Classical pianist Van Cliburn
birth name: Harvey Lavan Cliburn, Jr.

Van Cliburn

July 12, 1934, Shreveport, LA ~ February 27, 2013, Texas

When it was time to announce a winner, the judges were obliged to ask permission of the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to give first prize to an American. “Is he the best?” Khrushchev asked. “Then give him the prize!” ~ Wikipedia: Van Cliburn ~ retrieved July 5, 2014 © Wikipedia

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July 12, 2003 ~ Billboard Hot 100 ~ #3 (1) Clay Aiken, This Is The Night ~ #2 (4) Lil' Kim featuring 50 Cent, Magic Stick ~ #1 (3) Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z, Crazy In Love


Cliburn's mother, who had studied with Liszt pupil Arthur Friedheim, was his first teacher. He gave his first recital at 4, played with the Houston Symphony at 13, and at 14 was heard in Carnegie Hall. Appearances, prizes, and awards followed in a regular spate without amounting to public recognition or a genuine career. At 17 he had begun studies with Rosina Lhévinne at the Juilliard School - taken with his mother's Liszt/Friedheim connection, he became an unselfconscious inheritor of the grand Romantic tradition. ~ Allmusic: Van Cliburn ~ retrieved July 5, 2013 © Allmusic

In his 1999 memoir, “The Times of My Life,” Mr. Frankel recalled his coverage of Mr. Cliburn’s triumph in Moscow: “The Soviet public celebrated Cliburn not only for his artistry but for his nationality; affection for him was a safe expression of affection for America.” […] Mr. Cliburn was at first oblivious to the political ramifications of the Tchaikovsky prize. “Oh, I never thought about all that,” Mr. Cliburn recalled in 2008 in an interview with The Times. “I was just so involved with the sweet and friendly people who were so passionate about music.” The Russians, he added, “reminded me of Texans.” ~ New York Times: Van Cliburn Obituary ~ February 27, 2013 © New York Times

Van Cliburn ~ Inducted in the 2001 American Classical Music Hall Of Fame.

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