53 years on, Van Cliburn returns to the Tchaikovsky

Less in triumph than benediction, the first winner made his first appearance at the competition tonight since 1958. Here’s what he said:

‘This trip is special in that it is the 53rd anniversary of the Tchaikovsky Competition and is the first time I have returned to the competition since 1958. It is so inspiring to hear the young talents from many countries and to be with friends of long standing as we celebrate the love and majesty of great classical music.’

And here’s how he looked then.

The other guy has been retired from the judges. Here’s the new chair.

pictures and press release from the Van Cliburn Foundation.


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  • Saw a documentary about the Van Cliburn Competition in Ft. Worth and so someone asks Van why he wasn’t a judge – and he gave a great answer: “Because I want them all to win…” Such a generous fellow – he looks great in the photo!

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