Van Cliburn Dies: Classical Pianist Van Cliburn Passes Away

Epoch Times Staff
Created: February 27, 2013 Last Updated: March 29, 2013
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Van Cliburn dies: Famed classical pianist Van Cliburn died at his Texas home on Wednesday.

Classical pianist Van Cliburn died in Texas early on Wednesday after a battle with cancer, it was reported. He was 78.

Cliburn achieved fame when he won a 1958 piano competition between the United States and the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War. He won the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition, greatly raising his profile with the international community.

According to the Wall Street Journal, his Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 recording in 1958 went on to sell more than 1 million copies—the first time a classical album had done so.

His publicist and friend, Mary Lou Falcone, told The Associated Press that Cliburn died in Fort Worth after battling bone cancer.

Cliburn made his final appearance September during the 50th anniversary of the piano competition named after him. “Never forget: I love you all from the bottom of my heart, forever,” he said, according to AP.

When Cliburn performed at the 1958 competition, he became “one of the great interpreters of” Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, wrote Ted Libbey of NPR.

“The account is played from the heart, with a spellbinding virtuosity that seems almost effortless — a reminder that the concerto is genuine music, after all, not some merely flashy showpiece of fast octaves,” Libbey wrote. “Cliburn’s playing has so much poise, and in the lyrical moments he brings such shape and expressiveness to the phrasing of the music.”

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