An American Wins In Russia
Chicago Symphony Orchestra; Reiner, Fritz; Hendl, Walter; Cliburn, Van; RCA Symphony Orchestra; Kondrashin, Kirill; Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra; Symphony of the Air
Van Cliburn (1934–2013) was the first American contestant ever to win the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, and he did it in 1958 – right in the middle of the "Cold War". His victory caused a sensation; the twenty-four-year-old was celebrated like a modern-day pop star. The recording he subsequently made in New York of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto op. 23 remains to this day one of the best-selling records in the history of classical music. Van Cliburn retired almost entirely from active concert life in 1978 and died in 2013 of bone-marrow cancer. He was born Harvey Lavan, jr. in the state of Louisiana and received his piano training up to the age of 17 from his mother, a pianist who had learned from the great Arthur Friedheim, a pupil of Liszt. He won numerous competitions both as a child and as an adolescent, and after winning first prize at the National Musical Festival in New York's Carnegie Hall he initially continued his studies at the Juilliard School of Music. His breakthrough came with his overwheming triumph in Moscow. The present release presents some of his finest recordings made at the peak of his career.