Van Cliburn Biography
(American Pianist Who Achieved Worldwide Recognition When He Won the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow in 1958)
Birthday: July 12, 1934 (Cancer)
Born In: Shreveport, Louisiana, United States
Harvey Lavan Cliburn, Jr., more popularly known as Van Cliburn, was an American pianist who shot to worldwide fame when he won the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow in 1958, becoming the first American to do so. What made his achievement even more special was that he won at the height of Cold War when the political relations between the Soviet Union and the U.S were stressed. Cliburn’s musical talent was apparent from his childhood when he started playing the piano all by himself at the age of three. On noticing his interest, his mother, an accomplished pianist began to teach him. He made his first appearance with the Houston Symphony Orchestra when he was only 12. The child prodigy grew up to be an immensely talented young man who at the age of 20 won the highly prestigious Leventritt Competition. He rose to worldwide acclaim when he won the first International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow at the height of the Cold War. The young musician received a hero’s welcome back home when he returned to New York. He recorded the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 with RCA Victor and the album went on to become the best-selling classical album in the world for more than a decade.