Van Cliburn arriving in Los Angeles for his appearance at the Hollywood Bowl in 1958. This image is from the USC Digital Library.

Airport arrival, 1958 :: Los Angeles Examiner Collection, 1920-1961.

Van Cliburn arrives in Los Angeles in 1958 for performance at the Hollywood Bowl. USC Digital Collection

Mr. Cliburn, a Texan, was a lanky 23-year-old when he clinched the gold medal in the inaugural year of the Tchaikovsky competition, and the feat, in Moscow, was viewed as an American triumph over the Soviet Union at the height of the cold war. He became a cultural celebrity of pop-star dimensions and brought overdue attention to the musical assets of his native land.

via Van Cliburn, Pianist, Dies at 78 –


  1. Well, I never new about this – strange how so many things became proxies for head to head combat during the Cold War – from chess to the Olympic Games to classical music.
    Once again Ms L you have fascinated!!
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • There was a lot of Rachmaninoff going on in this house yesterday… what a legacy Mr. Van Cliburn left us. On a cheerful note I love how pianists trace their genealogy… My teacher’s teacher studied with Liszt or Rachmaninoff or…
      Hugs from here,

    • Tchaikovsky’s 1st (for his stunning performance in Moscow), and Rachmaninoff’s piano concerto #2 (for Brief Encounter), and it’s 2:30 pm on a Saturday afternoon here in LA, so a toast to you with a precious Amontillado.

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