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Van Cliburn dies at 78


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Van Cliburn master of the piano has passed away at the age of 78.

Perhaps his significance might be lost on the younger generation but for mine he was a hero.

I was 13 when, Van Cliburn, at the age of 23, won the inaugural Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, and my heart. He never knew about the latter. I remember thinking how handsome he was. It would be true to say I had a crush on him.

Watching the clip below, I swear he had the same mannerisms of decisiveness and assured performance that another Texan displays; JIm Parsons as Sheldon Cooper, and I say that with much admiration for both artists.

Even here in Australia we praised Van Cliburn for his talent and achievements. I'll never forget the pleasure his playing gave the world.

Here's an example of his playing - watch for the first Sheldon mannerism at 15 seconds (don't blink.)

His many recordings will stand as his memorial, we are very lucky to have them.

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He was a giant. I'd known he'd won the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, but hadn't realized it was the very first one. It was during the Cold War -- if that should be capitalized. At the time it certainly seemed it should be. There were times during the Cold War when it was a scary time to live through -- and at a dicey time at that, in 1958, just before the Cuban missle crisis in 1962. For an American to win this was astounding. Van Cliburn was just that good.

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