Van Cliburn plays to the gallery

Nobody knew the Moscow audience better than Van.

This is 1958, shortly after he won the Tchaik Competition.


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  • People can say what they want about Cliburn, but for me his live 1960 performance of the Rachmaninoff second sonata is one of the greatest performances of any music by anyone ever.

  • Even more significantly, when Cliburn was summoned to the Reagan White House to perform for the Gorbachevs in 1987, he played this as an encore while the Gorbachevs sang along, to the amazement of everyone in the room, and thus Cliburn ended the Cold War for the 2nd time.

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