Van Cliburn

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Pianist
QUICK FACTS
Date of Birth July 12, 1934
Place of Birth Shreveport, Louisiana
Date of Death Feb 27, 2013 (78)
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Van Cliburn

Harvey Lavan "Van" Cliburn Jr. was an American pianist who, at the age of 23, achieved worldwide recognition when he won the inaugural International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958. Cliburn's mother, a piano teacher and an accomplished pianist in her own right, discovered him playing at age three, mimicking one of her students and arranged for him to start taking lessons. Cliburn developed a rich, round tone and a singing-voice-like phrasing, having been taught from the start to sing each piece. Cliburn toured domestically and overseas. He played for royalty, heads of state, and every US president from Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama.

Birth name: Harvey Lavan Cliburn Jr.
Also known as: Van Cliburn
Born: July 12, 1934, Shreveport, Louisiana, U.S.
Died: February 27, 2013, Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.
Genres: Classical music
Occupation(s): Pianist
Instruments: Piano
Years active: 1946–2013
Labels: RCA Victor Red Seal
Facebook: Van Cliburn's Facebook profile
IMDb: Van Cliburn's IMDb
Spotify: Van Cliburn's Spotify

About Van Cliburn

Musical prodigy who won the first quadrennial Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in 1958 when he was only 23.

Van Cliburn Before Fame

He played with the Houston Symphony Orchestra after winning a statewide piano competition when he was 12. He enrolled at The Juilliard School when he was 17.

Achievement of Van Cliburn

He was declared The Texan Who Conquered Russia by Time magazine after his brilliant performance at the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1958 that forced Cold War Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to declare him the best. He was welcomed home with a ticker-tape parade in New York City.

Van Cliburn Family Life

His mother had studied with Franz Liszt. He was involved in a lawsuit with his alleged domestic partner, mortician Thoma Zaremba, in 1998.

Associations of Van Cliburn

He played for every United States president from Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama.

Information related to Van Cliburn

  • Van Cliburn Foundation - The Van Cliburn Foundation presents the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, the Cliburn Amateur Piano Competition, the Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival, Musical Awakenings education programs, and Cliburn Concerts.
  • Van Cliburn International Piano Competition - The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition is an American piano competition, first held in 1962 in Fort Worth, Texas and hosted by the Van Cliburn Foundation. Initially held at Texas Christian University, the competition has been held at the Bass Performance Hall since 2001.
  • Leventritt Award winners
  • Prize-winners of the International Tchaikovsky Competition
  • Musicians from Shreveport, Louisiana
  • LGBT people from Louisiana
  • LGBT classical musicians
  • Southern Baptists
  • Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winners
  • Kennedy Center honorees
  • Honorary Members of the Royal Academy of Music
  • United States National Medal of Arts recipients
  • Musicians from Texas
  • Recipients of the Order of Friendship
  • RCA Victor artists
  • American classical pianists
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients
Latest information about Van Cliburn updated on April 17, 2021.

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