Harvey Lavan Van Cliburn Jr. (b. 1934), US classical pianist and Cold War sensation, died yesterday aged 78. His triumph at the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958 when he was 23 did much to rejuvenate American pride, dented by the Soviet launch of Sputnik into space six months before that. He was the first (and only) classical musician to receive a New York ticker tape parade.
His mother, a piano teacher, had studied with Arthur Friedheim, a pupil of Franz Liszt. She found him at age three at the piano mimicking one of her students, and began teaching him as well.
Here he performs the Tchaik 1 (the work whose performance won him the 1958 prize) in 1962:
And here he is at the actual 1958 Moscow competition, playing the Rach 3:
Here he reminisces: