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Van Cliburn Harvey Lavan (Shreveport, La., 1934) was a talented pianist, specializing in romantic repertoire tardorromántico, whose victory in the first Tchaikovsky International Competition, held in 1958 in Moscow, made him a cultural hero for decades to much of the Western public. Last Wednesday died at age 78 at his home in Fort Worth (Texas) as a result of bone cancer. A Tribute to Van Cliburn: It was April 1958. It was just half a year, the USSR had exhibited technological capacity to achieve launch the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth, Sputnik and the Soviet establishment had organized the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition, originally held in the categories of piano and violin , incorporated in later editions the cello and singing, to the glory of Russian culture.
Van Cliburn was the son of an employee of the oil industry which was established in the Texas town of Kilgore when the future cultural icon was six. At the young age of three began taking piano lessons with her mother, Bee Rilda O'Brian, who in turn had been taught nothing short of Arthur Friedheim, one of the favorite disciples of Franz Liszt. At 12 he won a statewide contest, which allowed him to debut with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, at 17 he joined the famed Juilliard School in New York, where Rosina Lhevinne deepened knowledge of the great Russian romantic tradition, and 20 had already won one of the most prestigious international awards at the time, the Leventritt, that in the three previous editions had been awarded.
Following its success Moscow, lived a dizzying stage during the sixties and seventies, during which he conducted countless tours, several of them by Russia, which was exceptionally appreciated. In this period of turmoil came to play more than one hundred concerts in some seasons. The string of performances and recordings certainly benefited your checking account, but not its development as an artist.
Despite his long absences musical ups and downs, the late pianist, who played for every U.S. president from Eisenhower to Obama, is a reference perennial American musical culture.
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