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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In Memoriam: Van Cliburn

Van Cliburn received a ticker-tape parade in New York City
after his stunning triumph in the 1958 Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow.

My late husband was a highly trained classical musician and a great admirer of fellow Texan Van Cliburn, who died today at his home Fort Worth, aged 78. A tribute from the PBS Newshour:

See the full interview with Cliburn here.

The New York Times for some reason seems a bit reluctant to say so, but Cliburn is survived by a partner, Thomas Smith.

In 2011, President Obama bestowed the National Medal of Arts upon Cliburn
in a ceremony at the White House.

Update: The New York Times has now posted a more extensive obituary of Cliburn, with some further details about his sexuality - about which, like most gay men of his generation, he was always very discreet to the end of his life.


Tim said...

There was an obit on the BBC World Service last night, what a gifted man, but it would seem that the success of winning the Tchaikovsky Competitionn at an early age became a weight around his neck. Sadly coping with fame is nothing new.

Davis said...

Our local paper, too, mentioned only that he was survived by his longtime friend. Pitiful.

God rest his soul - he was a genius.

Ted said...

I was privileged to hear him three times; my Dad took me to a concert when I was a pre-teen. It's ironic that his funeral will be in a Baptist church, where Al Travis, a retired Southwestern Seminary professor, plays the massive Rilda Bee Cliburn organ. Of course, the church was kicked out of the Southern Baptist Convention, and if you've ever met Dr. Travis...

Russ Manley said...

Appreciate your comments, guys, he was a rare soul who will be greatly missed.

But Tim - success as "a weight around his neck"? I think you have been greatly misinformed. The man enjoyed great fame, moderate fortune, was beloved all over this country, and by all accounts lived quite happily if quietly, enjoying the rewards of his labors and doing lots of good works. What slander did the BBC have to say about him?

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