Cliburn, Van


1968 Indiana University concert program signed by the great pianist



Autograph ID: 7057
Condition: Very good, slight discoloration at top left
Description: “(B. Harvey Lavan “Van” Cliburn Jr., 1934-2013) American pianist who, at 23, achieved global recognition on winning the inaugural International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow during the Cold War. His mother discovered him playing at 3 and had him begin taking lessons. He developed a rich, round tone and a singing-voice-like phrasing, having been taught initially to sing each piece. Cliburn toured domestically and overseas, and played for royalty, heads of state, and Presidents Truman to Obama. One of his greatest contributions was the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, founded in 1958, held every 4 years, open to pianists 18-30. At 6, his family moved to Texas. At 12 he won a statewide piano competition, which led to his debut with the Houston Symphony Orchestra. He entered the Julliard School at 17 and studied under Rosina Lhevinne who trained him in the great Russian romantic tradition. At 20, he debuted at Carnegie Hall. The 1st International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1958 was designed to demonstrate Soviet cultural superiority after the USSR’s technological victory with the 1957 launch of Sputnik. Cliburn’s performance at the competition finale of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 on April 13 earned him an 8-minute standing ovation. He returned home to a ticker-tape parade in NYC, the only time the honor was accorded a classical musician. Cliburn appeared in a Carnegie Hall concert with the Symphony of the Air, conducted by Kiril Kondrashin, who led the Moscow Philharmonic in the Moscow prize-winning performances. His performance of the Rachmaninoff 3rd Piano Concerto at this concert was later released by RCA Victor on LP. RCA Victor signed him to an exclusive contract and his subsequent recording of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 won a 1958 Grammy, and was the world’s best-selling classical album for over a decade. The 1st Van Cliburn International Piano Competition was held in 1962 at Texan Christian University in Ft. Worth, and until his death, he was Director Emeritus for the Van Cliburn Foundation as host of the quadrennial competition and of other programs honoring his legacy. He performed at the Interlochen Center for the Arts during its summer camp 1961-2006 and returned to the USSR on several times, his performances usually recorded and televised. Cliburn performed and recorded thru the 70s, but in 1978, after the deaths of his father and manager Sol Hurok, he began a hiatus from public life. In 1987, he performed at the White House for President Reagan and USSR President Gorbachev, opened Carnegie Hall’s 100th anniversary season, then embarked on a 16-city tour in 1994. In his late 70s, he gave few performances. He received 2001 Kennedy Center Honors, a 2003 Presidential Medal of Freedom and in 2004, the Russian Order of Friendship, the highest civilian awards of both countries. He was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004 and a National Medal of Arts in 2011.

9 x 7 concert program page from Cliburn’s appearance at Indiana University’s Celebrity Series, 2nd Series, First Event, no place (Bloomington, Indiana), no date (October 16 1968), featuring pieces to be played by the pianist at his concert, signed boldly (5”!) vertically, in person signature.”
Type: Signed concert program page

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