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Van Cliburn

He grew up in Kilgore, Texas to an oil man. Soon outgrowing his small East Texas hometown, he debuted with the Houston Symphony Orchestra at age12. He then attended Julliard, where he mastered the Russian classics under Rosina Lhévinne.

In 1958, at 22 and the height of the Cold War, he outplayed the entire world with Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 and Rachmaninov's 3rd Piano Concerto at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.With his otherworldly playing, he became classical music royalty, making life-long friends along the way, from Sergei Rachmaninov to Helmut Kohl to Christopher Reeve to Condoleezza Rice.

An old school southern gentleman through and through, he founded an International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, helping many young pianists find their way. Let's discuss the American pianist Van Cliburn.

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by Anonymousreply 92March 19, 2023 10:21 PM

Here is a nice interview with him from about ten years ago.

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by Anonymousreply 1March 15, 2023 5:34 PM

Here is Cliburn mastering Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No 1

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by Anonymousreply 2March 15, 2023 5:36 PM

Rachmaninoff's 3rd Piano Concerto

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by Anonymousreply 3March 15, 2023 5:37 PM

Prokofiev Piano Concerto No 3

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by Anonymousreply 4March 15, 2023 5:37 PM

I loved his performance in "Shane."

by Anonymousreply 5March 15, 2023 5:38 PM

Did he know Eric Porter?

Seriously though, I once saw him waiting to board a flight. He had a minder with him, and he very much seemed to not want to recognized or approached. He looked timid and afraid. Very few probably would’ve known him anyway.

by Anonymousreply 6March 15, 2023 5:39 PM

R6 I feel like he would consider it "rude" to be recognized in public. Does that make sense?

by Anonymousreply 7March 15, 2023 5:41 PM

It does, R7.

by Anonymousreply 8March 15, 2023 5:42 PM

He always seemed to be a very shy and timid person. He made a lot of friends. No one has ever said anything bad about him.

He also gave back so much to the United States, Texas, Fort Worth, and his hometown Kilgore.

by Anonymousreply 9March 15, 2023 5:47 PM

It was sad to read about the messiness between him and his partner.

by Anonymousreply 10March 15, 2023 5:49 PM

I had no memory of this case, detailed on wikipedia.........

In 1996, Cliburn was named in a lawsuit by his domestic partner of 17 years, mortician Thomas Zaremba.[27] In the suit, Zaremba claimed entitlement to a portion of Cliburn's income and assets and asserted that he might have been exposed to HIV, causing emotional distress. Cliburn denied the allegations, with his attorney, Dee Kelly, stating that "Van Cliburn categorically denies the charges."[28] Cliburn's defense team further maintained that the claims were not only false, but that they amounted to extortion.[29] Zaremba's attorney, Mike McCurley, acknowledged that Zaremba did not have AIDS and further admitted that "he had no reason to believe that Cliburn has HIV."[30] The claims were dismissed by a trial court and rejected by an appellate court,[31] on the basis that palimony suits were not permitted in the state of Texas unless the relationship is based on a written agreement.

Cliburn was known as a night owl. He often practiced until 4:30 or 5 a.m., waking around 1:30 p.m.[32] "You feel like you're alone and the world's asleep, and it's very inspiring."[33]

by Anonymousreply 11March 15, 2023 5:50 PM

R11 interesting.

by Anonymousreply 12March 15, 2023 5:57 PM

From my readings, he was also friends with George W. Bush, Rick Perry, Boris Yeltsin, Angela Merkel, Gunter Grass, and Vladmir Putin.

by Anonymousreply 13March 15, 2023 5:58 PM

Ergo, not a guy I would want to fuck with.

by Anonymousreply 14March 15, 2023 6:00 PM

Your loss, R14.

by Anonymousreply 15March 15, 2023 6:02 PM

Here is a link to the Court's opinion, they barred Zaremba from recovering his "palimony" suit.

It sounded like Zaremba was the house boyfriend and demanded cash when they broke up.

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by Anonymousreply 16March 15, 2023 6:04 PM

I grew up in Fort Worth and he was always a big deal there.

by Anonymousreply 17March 15, 2023 6:07 PM

Here he charms the panel of What's My Line. His moment starts at 16:28.

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by Anonymousreply 18March 15, 2023 6:16 PM

R17 Yes! And in Kilgore

by Anonymousreply 19March 15, 2023 6:16 PM

Any pics of Van's johnson?

by Anonymousreply 20March 15, 2023 6:45 PM

R1, with what? Blackmail?

by Anonymousreply 21March 15, 2023 6:48 PM

Probably recruited as a spook. Although this looks more like a seduction that a recruitment. Definitely a killer.

by Anonymousreply 22March 15, 2023 6:50 PM

No way

by Anonymousreply 23March 15, 2023 7:03 PM

R20 I once ran into J. Edgar Hoover at a party that Van Johnson was giving for the Vienna Boys Choir. And J. Eddie took me to one side and asked "How'd you like it if we sent you to Hollywood with a radio transmitter in your back teeth, so you could spy on all those commie movie stars for us?" Being a patriotic American - and a little drunk - I agreed. The next day, an FBI dentist came over to my place, and he drilled me pretty good. I went to LA and got right to work on a John Garfield picture. One day, I saw him murmur-murmuring to Larry Parks - a definite Red - so I moseyed on over with my jaw hung open in a nonchalant way, licking my lips. Well, Mr. Garfield misinterprets my facial expression, and he took me back to his trailer tout-suite! I blew the transmitter that day, amongst other things, and that was the end of my career as a secret agent. But after that, I worked every John Garfield picture!!!"

by Anonymousreply 24March 15, 2023 7:12 PM

[quote]I loved his performance in "Shane."

That was Van Heflin. This is the guy who recorded “Brown Eyed Girl”.

by Anonymousreply 25March 15, 2023 7:58 PM

That was Van Morrison, R25. This is the guy that plays guitar for Bruce Springsteen.

by Anonymousreply 26March 15, 2023 8:07 PM

That’s Van Zandt, R26. This is the sexy black king who bared his soul and wept on live TV as a CNN commentator.

by Anonymousreply 27March 15, 2023 8:11 PM

[quote]I once ran into J. Edgar Hoover at a party

Was he by any chance dressed as Vivian Vance at the time?

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by Anonymousreply 28March 15, 2023 8:15 PM

^ JEH in drag is a funny thing to imagine, but every account I’ve since read of him - including G-Man, Beverly Gage’s new biography - has poured cold water on this claim. But it is interesting - especially in mid-century America- that official Washington always treated Hoover & Clyde Tolson as a married couple.

by Anonymousreply 29March 15, 2023 8:23 PM

You’re think of Mario Van Peoples.

by Anonymousreply 30March 15, 2023 8:26 PM

Melvin Van Peebles, I think you mean.

by Anonymousreply 31March 15, 2023 8:30 PM

R27 That was Van Jones. This is the chick who turns letters on "Wheel of Fortune."

by Anonymousreply 32March 15, 2023 9:06 PM

You're thinking of Vanna White. This is the recently deceased guitarist from the band that bears his name.

by Anonymousreply 33March 15, 2023 11:40 PM

Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 "The Emperor." Kiril Kondrashin conducts Mr. Van Cliburn and the Moscow State Philharmonic Academy Orchestra

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by Anonymousreply 34March 16, 2023 12:28 AM

No, R33 you’ve got it wrong. That’s Eddie Van Halen, this is the guy that wrote the theme to Chariots of Fire. He was just in the Oscars In Memoriam.

by Anonymousreply 35March 16, 2023 12:40 AM

Do you mean Jordan Van Der Sloot?

by Anonymousreply 36March 16, 2023 12:45 AM

R35 That's Vangelis. You're thinking of the subculture of people who travel the country in converted school buses and U-Hauls.

by Anonymousreply 37March 16, 2023 12:45 AM

Please stop with the Van jokes. It's annoying

by Anonymousreply 38March 16, 2023 12:48 AM

R38 Awww, we're sorry. Should we go back to posting grainy footage of this dead pianist banging out the classics in between Chesterfield ads?

Or how about another Vivian Vance reference? Those are as fresh as Viv's corpse, I tells ya!

by Anonymousreply 39March 16, 2023 12:51 AM

R39 I made a post about something I enjoy. Don't be an immature little bitch

by Anonymousreply 40March 16, 2023 12:54 AM

Unclench your blow-hole R40

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by Anonymousreply 41March 16, 2023 1:00 AM

Van playing the National Anthem

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by Anonymousreply 42March 16, 2023 1:05 AM

No, that's Vangelis. You're thinking of the Dutch painter who cut off his ear.

by Anonymousreply 43March 16, 2023 1:28 AM

I've watched a couple of the YouTube videos linked here, and they all contain comments by people who recognized him while traveling. They invariably give detailed accounts of their conversations with him and say what a down-to-earth, delightful person he was. He didn't seem to be shy or timid at all; rather, humble and self effacing and genuinely interested in others.

by Anonymousreply 44March 16, 2023 1:44 AM

Umm, op. Rachmaninov died in 1943. I doubt he became good friends with Van.

On the other hand, I love Van’s recording of the 3rd Piano concerto by the other Sergei, Prokofiev.

by Anonymousreply 45March 16, 2023 2:04 AM

R18: I liked Shriver being blunt with Kilgallen---she played the game to win and did it less genially than Bennett Cerf. She was obviously miffed or angry but quickly pasted on a smile. She did guess him correctly in the end.

by Anonymousreply 46March 16, 2023 2:29 AM

Van Cliburn had about a 25 year performing career, that afterwards began to fizzle out. Either he didn't have the artistic temperament or the physical stamina to support a really long performing career. But I'm sure he made oodles of money along the way and probably had all sorts of well-to-do Texas businessmen patrons. It was such a political coup, to have him win a major competition in a COMMUNIST country right after Sputnik. But, really his performances in the late 50's and throughout the 60s were galvanizing. And those HANDS.

by Anonymousreply 47March 16, 2023 2:54 AM

R47 He got tired of being a performer around 1970. He saved money and had several lucrative real estate investments.

He didn't get back into the spotlight until 1987.

by Anonymousreply 48March 16, 2023 4:07 AM

His mother was displeased he sucked cock.

by Anonymousreply 49March 16, 2023 4:10 AM

R49 what about the group sessions?

by Anonymousreply 50March 16, 2023 4:19 AM

[quote] Please stop with the Van jokes. It's annoying

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by Anonymousreply 51March 16, 2023 4:27 AM

Across the eyes in the OP link photo, he reminds me of Wentworth Miller. Fingering piano jokes aside, I bet he was a lot of fun in bed at one time.

by Anonymousreply 52March 16, 2023 4:49 AM

I saw him on the Ed Sullivan Show when he got back from Russia.....and we were all excited and happy that he beat the Commies!

I had a 45 rpm extended play record of his playing of the First Piano Concerto.....a very nice green cardboard cover with his photograph on the front. I was seven years old.

Still the best......the first time I saw a color photograph of him - in probably LIFE magazine and saw the red hair....wow!

by Anonymousreply 53March 16, 2023 5:17 AM

With his mother on TTTT.

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by Anonymousreply 54March 16, 2023 1:01 PM

He was a southern gentleman

by Anonymousreply 55March 16, 2023 5:16 PM

John Browning was MUCH handsomer.

by Anonymousreply 56March 16, 2023 5:22 PM

R56 yes, but who was better?

by Anonymousreply 57March 16, 2023 7:05 PM

I thought Van Cliburn was his last name.....like the Von Trapp family......I thought maybe his friends called him Tex Van Cliburn.

by Anonymousreply 58March 16, 2023 9:03 PM

R49: Was she any happier about his fudge packing?

by Anonymousreply 59March 17, 2023 1:42 AM

I thought this thread was hilarious 😆 thanks to everyone

by Anonymousreply 60March 17, 2023 1:47 AM

His Mom thought he packed the most delicious fudge. Probably Mamie's recipe.

by Anonymousreply 61March 17, 2023 1:48 AM

He is a great pianist

by Anonymousreply 62March 17, 2023 2:03 AM

R1, thanks for sharing, that was a revealing interview. I love hearing artists talk about their craft.

by Anonymousreply 63March 17, 2023 2:29 AM

I love his calmness and coolness at the piano, even during intense and technically demanding performances such as Rachmaninoff's 3rd concerto. Like nothing fazed him.

The story about him winning the first ever International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in 1958 was that the event was designed to showcase Russian culural superiority. It had been pre-planned that a Russian pianist would win. Van Cliburn came over and blew everyone away with his performances of Tchaikovsky's 1st concerto and Rachmaninoff's 3rd. The judges had a conversation with Nikita Khrushchev, where Khrushchev asked them. "Well, who was the best?" They replied the American Van Cliburn was. "Well, give it to him!" Khrushchev replied.

by Anonymousreply 64March 17, 2023 3:02 AM

I have kind of a weird story about him. I knew someone who knew Jerome Hines, the American bass who sang at the Met for a million years, very well. My friend told me a story about Jerome Hines being invited to a party back in the 60's. As a singer, Jerry always assumed that he was also invited to sing at said party. He took a long copy of the sheet music to "Old man River," ehich at the time was one of the staples of his rep. Van Cliburn was at the party as well. The hostess asked Jerome Hines to sing and Van Cliburn to play for Jerry. Jerome Hines took out his copy of the sheet music to "Old Man River" and gave it to Van Cliburn. Van Cliburn whispered to Jerry that he could not sight read music, and would Jerry please make some excuse as to why they couldn't perform together? Otherwise, it would make Van Cliburn look ridiculous. The fact that Van Cliburn could not sight read "Old Man River" is astonishing. I am a terrible pianist, and even I could have cite read that song.

by Anonymousreply 65March 17, 2023 4:26 AM

Well, maybe I could "sight read," but I sure can't spell!

by Anonymousreply 66March 17, 2023 4:28 AM

My parents had an LP of Van Cliburn playing Chopin. Which my 7 year old mouth pronounced Chop-pin. I was so mesmerized by the incredible beauty of the music that I drove my parents crazy listening to it over and over again. To this day, I still prefer Chopin from the hands of Van Cliburn. Those hands indeed!

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by Anonymousreply 67March 17, 2023 4:46 AM

Some years ago, the local Steinway piano store had a visiting exhibit of Horowitz's concert grand piano, one of Van Cliburn's concert grands and a centennial edition of a piano they called the Gershwin piano. The owner called me and asked if I'd be willing to play a concert to showcase the pianos at his store, which was newly built and had just opened at the time. I asked if I could invite some of my friends and he said, of course. So there were three of us. We played pieces that Horowitz was famous for performing using his piano, (I played pieces by Scarlatti and Scriabin, a friend played a prelude by Rachmaninoff, and another a piece by Liszt) I played several pieces that Van Cliburn had recorded during his career on the Van Cliburn piano, (Debussy, Brahms, Rachmaninoff) and then one of my friends played Rhapsody in Blue on the Gershwin piano, while my other friend and I accompanied her (playing the orchestral parts) on the other two pianos. It was a 'grand' success, and filled the store's recital hall to the brim. We really should have charged the store - instead, we got commemorative clocks and were enrolled as "Steinway Artists". But it was a fun evening and I don't regret it.

by Anonymousreply 68March 17, 2023 9:24 AM

That sounds like a great afternoon or evening R68 - can you add where this happened? Serious question because I live in an area where there is no such thing as a Steinway retail outlet. I know there are places where they do - like the Plano TX region, but not where I live.

by Anonymousreply 69March 17, 2023 9:51 AM

In a medium sized city of the Pacific Northwest

by Anonymousreply 70March 17, 2023 10:04 AM


by Anonymousreply 71March 17, 2023 2:03 PM

He was the cover story of our second grade Weekly Reader when he beat the Russkies!

And he got a ticker tape parade in NYC!

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by Anonymousreply 72March 17, 2023 4:24 PM

Fantastic story!

by Anonymousreply 73March 17, 2023 4:25 PM

He was attractive until he died.

by Anonymousreply 74March 17, 2023 4:27 PM

A for a couple of days afterwards.

by Anonymousreply 75March 17, 2023 4:27 PM

Acclaimed classical pianist Van Cliburn owned an almost-5,000-square-foot house for 32 years in Tucson, Az selling it in 1993.

The home, on a dirt road called North Indian House Road, was on a large lot north of what is now Park Place.
 Early news clips indicate Cliburn, like so many others, came to Tucson at least partly for his health. In 1958, it was to recover from a bronchial infection; in 1959, it was for two months of "rest and relaxation." That same year, the young pianist also had some dental work done in the Old Pueblo.
 During the late '50s and all through the '60s, Cliburn performed in Tucson, everywhere from the Tucson Symphony Orchestra to the living room of the Rev. Newton H. White. The two men also dined at the Cliff House on North Oracle Road near Rudasill, where the pianist reportedly downed three bowls of turtle soup.

Cliburn died Feb. 27, 2013, at his home in Fort Worth, Texas at the age of 78.

by Anonymousreply 76March 17, 2023 4:56 PM

He was smart with his money

by Anonymousreply 77March 17, 2023 5:11 PM

I wonder what he and Rev. Newt did after dinner.

by Anonymousreply 78March 17, 2023 5:13 PM

He resembles Robert Reed a little.

by Anonymousreply 79March 17, 2023 5:40 PM

3 bowls of turtle soup followed by two loads of........ cue in Chopins Nocturne in E flat major (Op. 9, No. 2)

by Anonymousreply 80March 17, 2023 5:56 PM

Check out Reverand Newt!! Glory Be!

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by Anonymousreply 81March 17, 2023 6:01 PM

Wife and stepson drowned by accident or something more sinister?

Trust fund baby turned man of the cloth. Was the wife a beard---marrying in his 40s.

by Anonymousreply 82March 17, 2023 7:40 PM

Yes, very strange R82.... Involve Van in the plot, and we've got a miniseries I think.

by Anonymousreply 83March 17, 2023 8:36 PM

R81 - sister Mrs. Jack Bixler.......was her first name Bunny?

by Anonymousreply 84March 17, 2023 9:26 PM

Now it can be told!

by Anonymousreply 85March 18, 2023 4:11 AM

How he is related to Van Cliburn?

by Anonymousreply 86March 18, 2023 8:44 PM

Read the thread and the article.

by Anonymousreply 87March 18, 2023 11:25 PM

How come he has black peoples' hair?

by Anonymousreply 88March 18, 2023 11:35 PM

[quote] How come he has black peoples' hair?

Perhaps there was a touch of the tar brush in his family history?

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by Anonymousreply 89March 18, 2023 11:37 PM

He has cookie smelling face in every photo. How could people even in Texas of that day have not known he was gay. Not married. Wikipedia says he was a member of the Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth with his funeral held out of there. A Thomas L. Smith, longtime friend, was listed as his only survivor.

by Anonymousreply 90March 18, 2023 11:56 PM

I googled his church. It’s really a big ass church and beautiful for its time and place. It reeks of Southern upper or upper middle class gentility at least it had to in the 1940s thru 1960s.

by Anonymousreply 91March 19, 2023 12:22 AM

I was just watching [italic]Crooked House[/italic] with subtitles on. When the soundtrack stated "classical music playing," I thought "Oh, please, that's Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1" because I'd listened to your Youtube link. The tycoon's granddaughter was dancing to this and finished looking at his portrait. Hint, hint.

by Anonymousreply 92March 19, 2023 10:21 PM
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