Creatively Speaking
12:24 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

The American Pianist Who Rocked Russia for Decades

Saturday, July 12, 2014 would have been the 80th birthday of celebrated American pianist Van Cliburn,  who died in 2013. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, his 1958 win in the Soviet Union’s first International Tchaikovsky Competition was a welcome sign of warmth in the midst of Cold War tensions.

Watch Van Cliburn play Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No.3 in 1958 in Moscow:

Video of Van Cliburn playing the first movement from Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in Moscow in 1962:

Listen to more of Susan Lewis' conversation with Inna Lobanova-Heasley about how Van Cliburn and his music were received in Russia at the 1958 competition, and in the years following. Inna reflects about the impact Van Cliburn had on her growing up in Russia, and his immense popularity in her homeland.