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Van Cliburn

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Van Cliburn (b. Harvey Lavan Cliburn Jr., July 12, 1934 - February 27, 2013), is an American pianist who achieved worldwide recognition in 1958, when at age 23, he won the first quadrennial International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow, at the height of the Cold War.
Cliburn was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, and began taking piano lessons at the age of three from his mother, Rildia Bee O’Bryan (who had been taught by Arthur Friedheim, a pupil of Franz Liszt). When Cliburn was six, he and his family moved to Kilgore, Texas, and at twelve he won a statewide piano competition which enabled him to debut with the Houston Symphony Orchestra. He entered The Juilliard School at age 17, and studied under Rosina Lhévinne, who trained him in the tradition of the great Russian romanticists. At age 20, Cliburn won the Leventritt Award, and made his Carnegie Hall debut.
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