When American pianist Van Cliburn died in 2013, funeral organizers in Texas couldn’t locate an obscure piece of music he’d requested for the service. But as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, thanks to a Philadelphia connection, the Russian folk song was found, and is now enjoying new life in America. "Vanya Klibern," as he was called in Russia, says Inna Lobanova-Heasley, was "a rock star" there.
Tuesday, July 12, 2016 would have been the 82nd birthday of celebrated American pianist Van Cliburn, who died in 2013. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, Van Cliburn's 1958 win in the Soviet Union’s first International Tchaikovsky Competition was a welcome sign of warmth in the midst of Cold War tensions.
Six finalists for the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition were announced last night in Fort Worth, Texas. For the first time since its inception more than 50 years ago, the contest is taking place without its namesake. Cliburn died in February of cancer, and the competition is dealing with his loss and other changes as well.
Pianist Van Cliburn's international fame landed him on the popular '50s and '60s television quiz show What's My Line? as a mystery guest - not a typical scenario for most classical artists.
In the wake of his death from cancer on Feb. 27th, the music world is reminded anew that winning the Tchaikovsky Competition in 1958 did him a world of good as well as a world of harm. Yet he wasn't the only one. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns looks at the somewhat lost generation that was Cliburn's pianistic contemporaries, including Leon Fleisher, Gary Graffman, and Byron Janis.
Very touching: the ailing Van Cliburn addressed the Fort Worth audience at the concert celebrating his competition's 50th anniversary: "I personally want to thank you all for all of your faithful support. Never forget that I love you all from the bottom of my heart forever."