Van Cliburn

Creatively Speaking
6:01 am
Mon July 21, 2014

How a Russian-Born Philadelphian Helped Give New Life to a Song Van Cliburn Loved

Van Cliburn loved the Russian folk song, "Ducks are Flying," and asked for it to be performed at his funeral service. But no one in Texas could find the song.

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.

Here are several ensembles presenting the Russian folk song performed at Van Cliburn's funeral service.

The Voronezh State Folk Choir (Russian)

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Creatively Speaking
12:24 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

The American Pianist Who Rocked Russia for Decades

Van Cliburn in a ticker-tape parade in 1958 after winning the Moscow International Tchaikovsky Competition. He's the only musician to ever receive a ticker-tape parade tribute in New York City.

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.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
5:16 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

The Cliburn Competition After Van

Chinese pianist Fei-Fei Dong, 22, performs at the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas. The Juilliard School graduate student is among six musicians chosen for the final round.
Ralph Lauer Cliburn Foundation

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 10:26 pm

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.

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Creatively Speaking
6:03 am
Mon March 11, 2013

The Nearly Lost Generation Of Great Pianists From The Era of Van Cliburn

Van Cliburn on "What's My Line" in 1964

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.

WRTI Spotlight
2:18 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Remembering Van Cliburn, A Giant Among Pianists And A Cold War Idol

A youthful Van Cliburn, captured mid-concerto.
Courtesy of the Van Cliburn Foundation

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 11:37 am

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Crossover
8:49 am
Fri September 14, 2012

Following Violinist Michael Ludwig's Skyrocketing Career!

After 14 years as associate concertmaster of The Philadelphia Orchestra, Michael Ludwig made a bold move – he decided to pursue the path of soloist.

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Deceptive Cadence
7:03 am
Fri September 14, 2012

Van Cliburn Speaks, Atlanta's War Of Words And Domingo's Successor

Pianist Van Cliburn made a surprise appearance at the 50th Anniversary Van Cliburn Competition Gold Medalists concert in Fort Worth, Texas Sept. 6.
Courtesy of the Van Cliburn Foundation

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 1:26 pm

  • 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."
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Deceptive Cadence
7:26 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

Van Cliburn Diagnosed With Bone Cancer

President Obama congratulates pianist Van Cliburn after presenting him with the National Medal of Arts in 2011.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 3:53 pm

Renowned Fort Worth pianist Van Cliburn, 78, has bone cancer. Long time friend and publicist Mary Lou Falcone issued this brief statement Monday afternoon.

"Van Cliburn has been diagnosed with advanced bone cancer," Falcone said. "He is under excellent care and resting comfortably at home. His spirits are high. We ask that his privacy be respected."

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