VAN CLIBURN – A FINAL BOW AND GODSPEED
Van Cliburn arriving in Los Angeles for his appearance at the Hollywood Bowl in 1958. This image is from the USC Digital Library.
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.