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Van Cliburn's Triumphant Carnegie Concert

Friday, March 01, 2013

Licensed for use only on NEH-funded Annotations blog. Van Cliburn sits at the keyboard during a dinner in his honor at the Lotos Club, October 1, 1958 (© Bettmann/CORBIS) (© Bettmann/CORBIS)

Earlier this week, classical pianist Van Cliburn died at age 78. In a piece written on the day of his death, Soundcheck host John Schaefer described him this way: 

"...one classical pianist was a larger-than-life, rock-star figure on at least two continents. He was a pop-music phenomenon, with a debut album that went triple platinum. Everyone knew who he was."

The pianist, who became a household name by winning the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow at the height of the Cold War in 1958. WNYC's classical sister station, WQXR, recorded Van Cliburn's triumphant post-victory concert at Carnegie Hall that year -- we take a listen with WQXR host Jeff Spurgeon

Guests:

Jeff Spurgeon

Comments [1]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

IN LIEU OF ALL THE MACHINATIONS OF ERSTWHILE PUBLIC FIGURES WHOSE CLAIM TO FAME IS SOME EYE OR EAR CATCHING SPACED OUT COMMENTARY, WE SHOULD REMEMBER HOW RARE VAN CLIBURN WAS TO HAVE ACHIEVED SO MUCH WITHOUT RAISING RANCOR OR SELF ADVANCING HIMSELF. HE DID NOT HAVE ANY ENEMIES, THOUGH MANY MAT HAVE BEEN JEALOUS OF HIS ATTAINMENTS. HE WAS A REAL "MENSCH." ALL THE WORLD ADMIRED VAN CLIBURN FOR HIS GREAT TALENT AND HIS WARM OUTGOING PERSONA. A JUILLIARD ALUM MYSELF BEFORE HIS LANDMARK TSCHAIKOWSKY TRIUMPH, I, WITH HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS, WATCHED HIS TICKER TAPE PARADE AND MY MOM , BROTHER DR. BEN LANE AND I ATTENDED HIS CARNEGIE HALL CONCERT AND SPOKE WITH HIM AFTERWARD BACKSTAGE. THAT TALL , LANKY HANDSOME TEXAN DID MORE FOR A FRIENDLIER RELATIONSHIP WITH THE RUSSIANS THAN ANY POLITICIAN. THE COLD WAR THREATENING PEACE WAS MADE LESS MENACING. R.I.P. VAN CLIBURN. THE WORLD MOURNS YOUR PASSING.

Mar. 09 2013 01:28 AM

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