Harvey Lavan ‘Van’ Cliburn, one of the most popular classical pianists of recent years, passed away on Wednesday morning after losing his battle with advanced bone cancer. He was 78. Born in Louisiana in 1934, Cliburn began taking piano lessons from his mother aged just 3. By the time he was 12, he had already won a state piano competition and performed with the Houston Symphony Orchestra. He made his Carnegie Hall debut aged just 20.
Educated at Julliard, he won the International Tchaikovsky
Piano Competition in Moscow in 1958, aged 23. At the height of the Cold
War, it was unusual for an American pianist to be recognised in such a
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Every day, at work, I listen to live streaming classical music. It is one of my very favorite musical forms and I've found it's the perfect way to help pass the time. My introduction to classical music was via Van Cliburn's recording of Tchaikovsky on vinyl no less! I'll admit I played it so much and so often, I received a second copy of the album for Christmas one year.
It's a sad day for the world, the man was truly gifted!