2013年3月11日 星期一

Van Cliburn 1934-2013, Manny Ramirez 1972-

 Manny Ramirez headed to Taiwan
ESPN
With no big-league teams seeking his services, Manny Ramirez is off to Taiwan, and according to CBSSports.com, will arrive Monday and sign to play with the EDA Rhinos. Ramirez. Ramirez's agent, Barry Praver, confirmed the player had an agreement in ...

Manny Ramírez
Baseball Player
Manuel Arístides "Manny" Ramírez Onelcida is a Dominican-American professional baseball outfielder and designated hitter. He is currently an unsigned free agent. Wikipedia
Born: May 30, 1972 (age 40), Santo Domingo
Height: 6' 0" (1.83 m)
Weight: 190 lbs (86.2 kg)
Salary: 500,000 USD (2012)

 

 

范·克萊本 | 1934-2013

冷戰時,他既是美國的英雄,又是蘇聯的寵兒

Courtesy of Van Cliburn Foundation, via Associated Press
1958年,范·克萊本在莫斯科贏得柴可夫斯基國際鋼琴大賽。

美國鋼琴家范·克萊本(Van Cliburn)周三在沃斯堡家中逝世,享年78歲。他於1958年在莫斯科的柴可夫斯基國際鋼琴大賽上摘冠而一夜成名,此後創造了現象級的成功演藝生涯,並獲得豐厚收入,但延續時間非常短暫。
他的發言人瑪麗·盧·法爾科內(Mary Lou Falcone)確認了他的死訊,並稱克萊本此前一直在接受骨癌治療。
當年獲得第一屆柴可夫斯基國際鋼琴大賽金獎時,克萊本是個高大瘦削的23歲青年,在得克薩斯州備受讚譽。“冷戰”的高峰時期,他在莫斯科的獲獎被認為是美國對蘇聯的一次大勝。他成了文化名人,名氣達到了流行巨星的程度,並為他家鄉的音樂人才帶來過度的關注。
克萊本回到紐約後,在曼哈頓下城受到了張燈結綵的夾道歡迎,他是第一個獲得這種榮譽的音樂家,有10萬人站在百老匯大街兩側迎接他。在市政廳舉辦的 儀式上,羅伯特·F·瓦格納(Robert F. Wagner)市長宣布:“克萊本先生以雙手奏響的和弦在全世界飄揚,提高了我們的藝術家與音樂愛好者在全世界的聲望。”
克萊本畢業於茱莉亞音樂學院,在莫斯科獲獎之前就已經是聲譽鵲起的著名鋼琴新秀。1954年,他曾獲得鋼垂基金獎(Leventritt Foundation award),這為他贏得了初次與五大著名交響樂團合作的機會,其中包括德米特里·米特羅普洛斯(Dimitri Mitropoulos)執棒的紐約愛樂樂團。1954年11月,他與該樂團合作在卡耐基音樂廳演出時的曲目——柴可夫斯基第一鋼琴協奏曲,後來成了他的 標誌性曲目,在當時為他贏得熱情的評論,以及與哥倫比亞藝術家公司的合約。
當時,克萊本這一代美國鋼琴家非常傑出,他們的音樂生涯很被看好。除了克萊本,還有里昂·弗萊舍(Leon Fleisher)、拜倫·詹尼斯(Byron Janis)和加里·格拉弗曼(Gary Graffman)。柴可夫斯基大賽舉辦是在1957年蘇聯發射世界第一顆人造衛星斯普特尼克號之後不久,當時美國人的士氣受到打擊。
《紐約時報》馬克斯·弗蘭克爾(Max Frankel)一系列生動的報道進一步促成了克萊本的勝利,當時弗蘭克爾是駐莫斯科記者,後來成了《紐約時報》的執行主編。他寫了克萊本先生整個賽程的 報道——在最初幾輪比賽時佔據優勢,最終挺進決賽,成了俄國人民的寵兒,俄國人在街上擁抱他,樂迷送來的信件和鮮花快要把他淹沒。這些報道令人們在他進入 決賽時對他產生熱切期待。
弗蘭克爾在1999年的回憶錄《我生活的時代及我在<時報>的生活》(The Times of My Life and My Life With The Times)中回憶了自己關於克萊本在莫斯科獲勝的報道:“蘇聯人公開歡迎克萊本,不僅是因為他的藝術才華,而且也是因為他的國籍,喜歡他是一種喜歡美國 的安全方式。”
弗蘭克爾說,自己“顯然懷疑,蘇聯官方會讓一個美國人打敗最好的俄國參賽者們嗎”。
“我們現在知道,是赫魯曉夫(蘇共總書記尼基塔·S·赫魯曉夫)個人批准克萊本獲勝,”他在書中寫道,“於是范在美國成了英雄以及一個符號,標誌着兩個社會之間的關係達到了一種新的成熟階段。”
克萊本起先對自己獲獎中的政治因素一無所知。
“啊,我從沒想過這些,”2008年,克萊本先生在接受《紐約時報》採訪時說,“我只是非常喜歡那些親切友好的人們,他們對音樂那麼熱情。”他還說,俄國人“讓我聯想起得克薩斯州人”。
那次採訪和慶祝他在莫斯科競賽上獲勝50周年有關。慶祝活動由范·克萊本基金會贊助,包括在沃斯堡的金貝爾藝術館(Kimbell Art Museum)舉辦的盛大宴會,有1000名賓客出席,其中包括俄國文化部長與俄國駐美大使,他們頻頻舉杯致意。
克萊本是一個天才型的鋼琴家,修長的雙手能展開到非凡的寬度。他培養出一種莊嚴的技巧,其中蘊含著格外溫暖的音色,以及鮮明深沉的音樂敏感性。他的 演奏在巔峰時期具有洶湧澎湃的浪漫主義激情,但也融入了一絲美國人特有的冷靜克制。傑出的俄羅斯鋼琴家斯維亞托斯拉夫·里赫特(Sviatoslav Richter)是那次競賽的評委,他形容克萊本是個天才,此外他還加上一句:“這個詞我不會隨便用在演奏者身上。”
早早成名帶來的困擾
柴可夫斯基大獎雖然標誌着克萊本事業的突破性成就,但最後也成了他失敗的原因。克萊本過分依賴自己敏銳的音樂本能,並不是一個特別有探索精神的藝術 家,他的成長受到早早成名的阻礙。他所到之處,觀眾們都希望聽到他那幾首獲獎曲目:柴可夫斯基第一鋼琴協奏曲和拉赫瑪尼諾夫第三鋼琴協奏曲。任何有社區連 鎖音樂廳的美國小城都盼着他能去開獨奏會。
“獲得柴可夫斯基獎的時候我才23歲,所有人都在談論它,”2008年,克萊本先生說,“但我覺得自己得到這個東西已經有20年了。被人渴望的滋味很激動人心,但同樣也是一種壓力。”
後來他想拓寬演奏曲目,但這種探索變得愈發不可靠。20世紀60年代,他演出的次數愈來越少。1978年他告別了舞台;1989年又再度歸來,但極少演出。他那偉大的才華顯現得太早,到最後他的潛力與抱負終未能實現。
1934年7月12日,小哈維·拉范·克萊本(Harvey Lavan Cliburn Jr)出生於路易斯安那州的什里夫波特。他的母親麗爾迪亞·比·奧布萊恩(Rildia Bee O’Bryan)是一位鋼琴家,曾在紐約隨李斯特的多年弟子阿圖爾·弗雷德海姆(Arthur Friedheim)學習,本來有志於從事音樂,但被她的母親禁止。她後來嫁給哈維·拉范·克萊本,他是石油公司的銷售代表,寡言少語,收入平平。
范是獨生子,從三歲就開始跟母親學習鋼琴。4歲時他開始在學生專場演出。他6歲時全家移居得克薩斯州的基爾戈爾(當地只有10500名居民)。儘管范的父親希望兒子成為一名醫學傳教士,但也發現這個孩子註定要從事音樂,於是在車庫裡搭建了一個練琴房。
13歲那年,胖乎乎的克萊本與休斯頓管弦樂隊合作演奏柴可夫斯基的協奏曲,贏得了全國大獎。克萊本先生的母親希望兒子能跟隨人脈更廣、更出色的的老 師學習,於是把他帶到紐約。克萊本進入了茱莉亞音樂學院的大師班,並獲得該校預科的入學資格。但范堅決拒絕跟隨母親之外的任何人學習,於是他們又回到了基 爾戈爾。
克萊本先生滿懷深情地談起母親,說她是一位優秀的教師,自己琴聲中那種詩意的優雅也要歸功於她的影響。“我的母親有着優美的歌聲,”他說,“她總是 告訴我,人類的第一件樂器是他們的聲音。當你彈奏鋼琴時,彈出的並不是數字。你必須找到一種歌唱般的聲音,她把它叫做‘聲音之眼’。”
16歲那年,他身高猛增到6英尺4英寸。他生性極為害羞,因為怕手受傷,學校的體育課也不能參加。後來他回憶自己在家庭之外的青春期生活是“人間地獄”。
17歲從中學畢業後,他終於接受茱莉亞音樂學院的獎學金,搬到紐約,跟隨俄國出生的鋼琴教育家羅西娜·列文涅(Rosina Lhevinne)學習,他沒能修完60個學分,是學校破例才讓他拿到學位。就連他最親密的朋友也說他在音樂以外的領域沒表現出什麼求知慾。
1954年贏得鋼垂獎是他的一次重大成功。該競賽雖然每年都舉行,但大獎已經空缺了三年,因為評委們認為沒有參賽者夠格。這一次的評委會包括魯道 夫·塞爾金(Rudolf Serkin)、喬治·賽爾(George Szell)和萊昂納德·伯恩斯坦(Leonard Bernstein),他們一致認可把獎項頒發給克萊本。
同年,克萊本從茱莉亞音樂學院畢業,計劃進入研究生院學習,但鋼垂獎為他帶來了演出任務,所以一直在巡演。
1957年,他被徵召入伍,兩天後就因為容易流鼻血而獲准離開部隊。當時,儘管他已經成名,但事業上一直停滯不前,還欠了7000美元債務。他在哥倫比亞藝術家公司的經紀人希望他開展一次歐洲巡演,但列文涅女士鼓勵他參加第一屆柴可夫斯基鋼琴大賽。
瑪莎·貝爾德·洛克菲勒援助基金的一個音樂項目發給他1000美元補助金,這樣他才能支付去往蘇聯的旅費。參賽者在莫斯科期間的費用由蘇聯政府支付。
俄國人的寵兒
從第一輪競賽開始,俄國人就對克萊本表現出了興趣。他那笨拙的男孩子氣和彈琴時的全神貫注非常惹人喜愛。坐在鋼琴前面,他身體向後倚去,遠離琴鍵, 目光凝視着虛空,帶着一種痛苦的恍惚微微側着頭。在快速的樂段中,他會俯下身去,幾乎是怒視着自己的手指。最後一輪競賽當晚,克萊本先生演奏了柴可夫斯基 的第一鋼琴協奏曲,一段德米特里·卡巴列夫斯基的獨奏曲(這是競賽的必選曲目)以及拉赫瑪尼諾夫第三鋼琴協奏曲,其後觀眾席上爆發出“第一名!第一名!” 的歡呼。評委之一埃米爾·吉列爾斯(Emil Gilels)到後台去擁抱他。
評審團與公眾的意見一致,莫斯科歡慶他的勝利。在克里姆林宮舉辦的招待會上,克萊本被赫魯曉夫熊抱了一下。“你怎麼這麼高啊?”赫魯曉夫問。“因為我是得克薩斯州人,”克萊本先生答道。
他的獎金包括25000盧比(合2500美元),但他只被允許攜帶一半金額出境。很快,天價報酬的演出邀請淹沒了他。
1958年到1959年演出季期間,他的收入高達15萬美元。1958年5月19日,他在卡耐基音樂廳的慶功音樂會上與指揮基里爾·康德拉辛 (Kiril Kondrashin)和空中交響樂團(Symphony of the Air)合作,再現了決賽當晚的曲目,這場演出被WQXR廣播電台轉播。他與RCA Victor公司簽了合同,錄製的柴可夫斯基第一鋼琴協奏曲唱片一年內就賣出了100萬張。
1958年,《紐約時報》評論家哈羅德·C·勛伯格(Harold C. Schonberg)寫道:“克萊本的演繹表明,作為一個鋼琴家,他把自己的潛力融為一體,結合了非凡的精湛技巧與音樂素養。”然而,甚至在那時,勛伯格 先生仍有保留意見:“如果說他的演出中有什麼欠缺,那就是最後的靈活性,這只能通過多年公演經驗積累起來。”
鋼琴家與作曲家阿布拉姆·蔡辛斯與維拉·斯蒂勒斯(Villa Stiles)合著的一本偶像崇拜的傳記《范·克萊本傳奇》(The Van Cliburn Legend)於1959年出版。蔡辛斯用克萊本在莫斯科的勝利作為武器攻擊美國文化體制,說他們忽略了自己的音樂家。
20世紀50年代末,沒有任何東西能阻擋克萊本走紅。他在好萊塢劇場舉辦了兩場音樂會,報酬是以那時的標準而言非常驚人的5000美元;他還和莫斯科國家交響樂團在麥迪遜廣場花園為超過16000名觀眾演出。
然而早在1959年,他試圖拓寬自己演出曲目的嘗試就沒有獲得良好反響。那年紐約愛樂樂團在卡耐基音樂廳舉辦的慈善音樂會上,克萊本先生演奏了莫扎 特第25號鋼琴協奏曲、舒曼的鋼琴協奏曲和普羅高菲夫(Prokofiev)第三鋼琴協奏曲,指揮是伯恩斯坦。霍華德·托布曼(Howard Taubman)在《紐約時報》上為這次演出撰寫了評論,他說莫扎特那支曲子的演出“幾乎是徹底令人失望”。他說,只有普羅高菲夫的曲子還算成功,並讚揚 了克萊本先生演奏中的自信、熱情和歡快。
評論克萊本1961年與費城交響樂團和尤金·奧曼弟(Eugene Ormandy)指揮合作演奏的貝多芬“皇帝”協奏曲時,勛伯格先生寫道:“這是一個蒼老的年輕人在演奏,但卻沒有年輕人的活力,也沒有歲月帶來的香 醇。”1962年,克萊本與費城交響樂團合作,為愛樂音樂廳(如今的艾弗里·費雪音樂廳[Avery Fisher Hall])的落成周慶典演出,再次演繹拉赫瑪尼諾夫第三鋼琴協奏曲。
儘管受到批評,克萊本還是努力擴展自己的演出曲目,彈了麥克道爾(MacDowell)和普羅高菲夫的協奏曲和塞繆爾·巴伯(Samuel Barber)的獨奏曲(是一首要求極高的鋼琴奏鳴曲),此外還有肖邦、勃拉姆斯、貝多芬和李斯特。但他在藝術上的成長和成熟永遠未能充分達到人們的期 待。甚至人格的成長也有些滯後。20世紀50年代末,克萊本是個娃娃臉、滴酒不沾、常去教堂、身體健康的得克薩斯州人,非常符合時代精神。但對於60年代 末的美國年輕人來說,他顯得太過僵化拘謹,是那個被妖魔化的體制的代表。
新競賽
後來的許多鋼琴家試圖追隨克萊本的腳步,在國際大賽上取得勝利。但許多評論家和教師抨擊這些競賽的目的和價值,稱它們是在鼓勵沒有個性的技巧、膚淺 的輝煌和平庸的演繹。儘管如此,1962年,沃斯堡的一些藝術贊助者和商業領袖為向家鄉英雄致敬,創辦了范·克萊本國際鋼琴競賽。它至今仍是同類競賽中獎 金和知名度最高的。
1978年,44歲的克萊本先生已經非常富有,他宣布自己不再開演奏會,搬去和母親同住在沃斯堡的一棟豪宅里,他經常在那裡舉辦晚宴派對。
年輕時克萊本曾與茱莉亞音樂學院的同學,一位女高音歌手有過短暫的羅曼史。但在當時他還在小心隱瞞自己的同性戀取向。1966年,32歲的他遇到了19歲的托馬斯·E·扎倫巴(Thomas E. Zaremba),從此就不再那麼小心謹慎了。
1996年,兩人戀愛關係的一些細節暴露在公眾視線之下。據《沃斯堡明星電訊報》(The Fort Worth Star-Telegram)報道,扎倫巴對克萊本發起配偶贍養費訴訟,索要“成千上百萬”。扎倫巴後來移居密歇根,成了喪葬承辦人,他聲稱在與克萊本交 往的17年間,自己一直擔任克萊本的商業夥伴和宣傳人員,還幫助照顧克萊本的母親,她於1994年逝世,終年97歲。訴訟最後未被受理。
1987年,克萊本重返舞台,但其後並不經常演出。1998年5月21日,他身上的壓力到來幾乎可以看得見摸得着的地步,在沃斯堡一座音樂廳落成儀 式音樂會上,克萊本與沃斯堡交響樂團合作演奏拉赫瑪尼諾夫第二鋼琴協奏曲,在演奏最後一個樂章時突發失憶,暈倒在舞台上。在後台,一個醫療隊為他做了吸氧 治療,他被送往醫院。
“那是非常劇烈的痛苦,”他的朋友,《達拉斯新聞晨報》(The Dallas Morning News)的評論家約翰·阿杜安(John Ardoin)當時說,“是純粹的緊張與消耗。兩天前,范剛剛做了一場獨奏音樂會,是一場真正一流的演出,是個很正式的活動,得克薩斯州所有的文化與政界 官僚都出席了。他被這一切壓倒了。”
他的最後一場公演是在當年9月沃斯堡的巴斯演奏音樂廳,范·克萊本基金會50周年的的慶典音樂會上,由他親口宣布。與他同居多年的托馬斯·L·史密斯(Thomas L. Smith)先他去世。
克萊本留下了為數雖然不多但長盛不衰的唱片。其中一份錄音是他在柴可夫斯基大賽之後,在卡耐基音樂廳演奏拉赫瑪尼諾夫第三鋼琴協奏曲的現場錄音。評論家勛伯格曾經盛讚它在技術上的力量與音樂上的自信,以及“男性化的詩意,未被怪癖所侵擾”。
勛伯格先生又頗具預見性地加了一句:“不管克萊本最終將會如何,這都是他音樂生涯中的偉大時刻之一;就算由於某些原因他未能充分發揮自己的潛能,他也永遠有這個時刻可供回憶。”
翻譯:董楠



Van Cliburn, Cold War Musical Envoy, Dies at 78

Courtesy of Van Cliburn Foundation, via Associated Press
Van Cliburn won the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958.

Van Cliburn, the American pianist whose first-place award at the 1958 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow made him an overnight sensation and propelled him to a phenomenally successful and lucrative career, though a short-lived one, died on Wednesday at his home in Fort Worth. He was 78.
His publicist, Mary Lou Falcone, confirmed the death, saying that Mr. Cliburn had been treated for bone cancer.
Mr. Cliburn was a tall, lanky 23-year-old, hailing from Texas, when he clinched the gold medal in the inaugural year of the Tchaikovsky competition. 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.
When Mr. Cliburn returned to New York he received a ticker-tape parade in Lower Manhattan, the first musician to be so honored, cheered by 100,000 people lining Broadway. In a ceremony at City Hall, Mayor Robert F. Wagner proclaimed that “with his two hands, Van Cliburn struck a chord which has resounded around the world, raising our prestige with artists and music lovers everywhere.”
Even before his Moscow victory the Juilliard-trained Mr. Cliburn was a notable up-and-coming pianist. He won the Leventritt Foundation award in 1954, which earned him debuts with five major orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic under Dimitri Mitropoulos. For that performance, at Carnegie Hall in November 1954, he performed the work that would become his signature piece, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, garnering enthusiastic reviews and a contract with Columbia Artists.
At the time, Mr. Cliburn was part of an exceptional American generation of pianists in promising stages of their own careers, among them Leon Fleisher, Byron Janis and Gary Graffman. And the Tchaikovsky competition came at a time when American morale had been shaken in 1957 by the Soviet Union’s launching of Sputnik, the world’s first artificial satellite.
The impact of Mr. Cliburn’s victory was enhanced by a series of vivid articles written for The New York Times by Max Frankel, then a foreign correspondent based in Moscow and later an executive editor of the paper. The reports of Mr. Cliburn’s progress — prevailing during the early rounds, making it to the finals and becoming the darling of the Russian people, who embraced him in the streets and flooded him with fan mail and flowers — created intense anticipation as he entered the finals.
In his 1999 memoir, “The Times of My Life and My Life With The Times,” Mr. Frankel recalled his coverage of Mr. Cliburn’s triumph in Moscow: “The Soviet public celebrated Cliburn not only for his artistry but for his nationality; affection for him was a safe expression of affection for America.”
Mr. Frankel said he had “posed the obvious question of whether the Soviet authorities would let an American beat out the finest Russian contestants.”
“We now know that Khrushchev” — Nikita S. Khrushchev, the Soviet premier — “personally approved Cliburn’s victory,” he wrote, “making Van a hero at home and a symbol of a new maturity in relations between the two societies.”
Mr. Cliburn was at first oblivious to the political ramifications of the prize.
“Oh, I never thought about all that,” Mr. Cliburn recalled in 2008 during an interview with The Times. “I was just so involved with the sweet and friendly people who were so passionate about music.” The Russians, he added, “reminded me of Texans.”
The interview was conducted in conjunction with 50th-anniversary celebrations of the Moscow competition. The festivities, sponsored by the Van Cliburn Foundation, included a gala dinner at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth for 1,000 guests, among them the Russian culture minister and the Russian ambassador to the United States, who led a long round of toasts.
Mr. Cliburn was a naturally gifted pianist whose enormous hands had an uncommonly wide span. He developed a commanding technique, cultivated an exceptionally warm tone and manifested deep musical sensitivity. At its best his playing had a surging Romantic fervor, but one leavened by an unsentimental restraint that seemed peculiarly American. The towering Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter, a juror for the competition, described Mr. Cliburn as a genius — a word, he added, “I do not use lightly about performers.”
Drawbacks of Early Success
But if the Tchaikovsky competition represented Mr. Cliburn’s breakthrough, it also turned out to be his undoing. Relying inordinately on his keen musical instincts, he was not an especially probing artist, and his growth was stalled by his early success. Audiences everywhere wanted to hear him in his prizewinning pieces, the Tchaikovsky First Concerto and the Rachmaninoff Third. Every American town with a community concert series wanted him to come play a recital.
“When I won the Tchaikovsky I was only 23, and everyone talked about that,” Mr. Cliburn said in 2008. “But I felt like I had been at this thing for 20 years already. It was thrilling to be wanted. But it was pressure, too.”
His subsequent explorations of wider repertory grew increasingly insecure. During the 1960s he played less and less. By 1978 he had retired from the stage; he returned in 1989, but performed rarely. Ultimately, his promise and potential were never fulfilled, but his great talent was apparent early on.
Harvey Lavan Cliburn Jr. was born in Shreveport, La., on July 12, 1934. His mother, Rildia Bee O’Bryan, a pianist who had studied in New York with Arthur Friedheim, a longtime student of Liszt, had hoped to have a career in music, but her mother forbade it. Instead she married Harvey Lavan Cliburn, a purchasing agent for an oil company, a laconic man of moderate income.
An only child, Van started studying with his mother when he was 3. By 4 he was playing in student recitals. When he was 6 the family moved to Kilgore, Tex. (population 10,500). Although Van’s father had hoped his son would become a medical missionary, he realized that the boy was destined for music, so he added a practice studio to the garage.
As a plump 13-year-old Mr. Cliburn won a statewide competition to perform with the Houston Symphony and he played the Tchaikovsky concerto. Thinking her son should study with a more well-connected and advanced teacher, Mr. Cliburn’s mother took him to New York, where he attended master classes at Juilliard and was offered a scholarship to the school’s preparatory division. But Van adamantly refused to study with anyone but his mother, so they returned to Kilgore.
He spoke with affecting respect for his mother’s excellence as a teacher and attributed the lyrical elegance of his playing to her. “My mother had a gorgeous singing voice,” he said. “She always told me that the first instrument is the human voice. When you are playing the piano, it is not digital. You must find a singing sound — the ‘eye of the sound,’ she called it.”
By 16 he had shot up to 6 feet 4 inches. Excruciatingly self-conscious, he was excused from athletics out of fear that he might injure his hands. He later recalled his adolescence outside the family as “a living hell.”
On graduation at 17 he finally accepted a scholarship from Juilliard and moved to New York. Studying with the Russian-born piano pedagogue Rosina Lhevinne, he entered the diploma rather than the degree program to spare himself from having to take 60 semester hours of academic credits. Even his close friends said he displayed little intellectual curiosity outside of music.
Winning the Leventritt award in 1954 was a major achievement. Though held annually, the competition had not given a prize in three years because the judges had not deemed any contestant worthy. But this panel, which included Rudolf Serkin, George Szell and Leonard Bernstein, was united in its assessment of Mr. Cliburn.
That same year he graduated from Juilliard and was to have begun graduate-level studies. But performing commitments as a result of the Leventritt kept him on tour.
In 1957 he was inducted into the Army but released after two days because he was found to be prone to nosebleeds. By this point, despite his success, his career was stagnating and he was $7,000 in debt. His managers at Columbia Artists wanted him to undertake a European tour. But Ms. Lhevinne encouraged him instead to enter the first Tchaikovsky competition.
A $1,000 grant from the Martha Baird Rockefeller Aid to Music program made the journey to the Soviet Union possible. The contestants’ Moscow expenses were paid by the Soviet government.
A Darling of the Russians
The Russian people warmed to Mr. Cliburn from the preliminary rounds. There was something endearing about the contrast between his gawky boyishness and his complete absorption while performing. At the piano he bent far back from the keys, staring into space, his head tilted in a kind of pained ecstasy. During rapid-fire passages he would lean in close, almost scowling at his fingers. On the night of the final round, when Mr. Cliburn performed the Tchaikovsky First Concerto, a solo work by Dmitry Kabalevsky (written as a test piece for the competition) and the Rachmaninoff Third Concerto, the audience broke into chants of “First prize! First prize!” Emil Gilels, one of the judges, went backstage to embrace him.
The jury agreed with the public, and Moscow celebrated. At a Kremlin reception, Mr. Cliburn was bearhugged by Khrushchev. “Why are you so tall?” Khrushchev asked. “Because I am from Texas,” Mr. Cliburn answered.
His prize consisted of 25,000 rubles (about $2,500), though he was permitted to take only half of that out of the country. Immediately, concert offers for enormous fees engulfed him.
His income for the 1958-59 concert season topped $150,000. His postcompetition concert at Carnegie Hall on May 19, 1958, with Kiril Kondrashin and the Symphony of the Air, repeating the program from the final round, was broadcast over WQXR. He signed a contract with RCA Victor, and his recording of the Tchaikovsky First Concerto sold over a million copies within a year.
Reviewing that recording in The Times in 1958, the critic Harold C. Schonberg wrote, “Cliburn stands revealed as a pianist whose potentialities have fused into a combination of uncommon virtuosity and musicianship.” Yet Mr. Schonberg had reservations even then: “If there is one thing lacking in this performance it is the final touch of flexibility that can come only with years of public experience.”
An idolatrous biography, “The Van Cliburn Legend,” written by the pianist and composer Abram Chasins, with Villa Stiles, was published in 1959. Mr. Chasins used Mr. Cliburn’s Moscow victory as a club to attack the American cultural system for neglecting its own.
Nothing could diminish Mr. Cliburn’s popularity in the late 1950s. He earned a then-stunning $5,000 for a pair of concerts at the Hollywood Bowl, and played with the Moscow State Symphony at Madison Square Garden for an audience of over 16,000.
Yet as early as 1959 his attempts to broaden his repertory were not well received. That year, for a New York Philharmonic benefit concert at Carnegie Hall conducted by Bernstein, Mr. Cliburn played the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 25, the Schumann Concerto and the Prokofiev Third Concerto. Howard Taubman, reviewing the program in The Times, called the Mozart performance “almost a total disappointment.” Only the Prokofiev was successful, he wrote, praising the brashness, exuberance and crispness of the playing.
Reviewing a 1961 performance of Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto by Mr. Cliburn with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy, Mr. Schonberg wrote, “It was the playing of an old-young man, but without the spirit of youth or the mellowness of age.” Mr. Cliburn performed the Rachmaninoff Third Concerto yet again, with the Philadelphia Orchestra, for the inaugural week of Philharmonic Hall (now Avery Fisher Hall) in 1962.
Despite the criticism, Mr. Cliburn tried to expand his repertory, playing concertos by MacDowell and Prokofiev and solo works by Samuel Barber (the demanding Piano Sonata), Chopin, Brahms, Beethoven and Liszt. But the artistic growth and maturity that were expected of him never fully came. Even as a personality, Mr. Cliburn began to seem out of step. In the late 1950s this baby-faced, teetotaling, churchgoing, wholesome Texan had fit the times. But to young Americans of the late 1960s he seemed a strained, stiff representative of the demonized establishment.
A New Competition
Many subsequent pianists tried to emulate Mr. Cliburn’s path to success through international competition victories. But a significant number of critics and teachers took to castigating the premise and value of competitions as an encouragement of faceless virtuosity, superficial brilliance and inoffensive interpretations. Nevertheless, in 1962, some arts patrons and business leaders in the Fort Worth area, to honor their hometown hero, inaugurated the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. It remains the most lucrative and visible of these contests.
In 1978, at 44, Mr. Cliburn, now a wealthy man, announced his withdrawal from concertizing. He moved with his mother into a magnificent home in the Fort Worth area, where he hosted frequent late-night dinner parties.
As a young man Mr. Cliburn was briefly linked romantically with a soprano classmate from Juilliard. But even then he was discreet in his homosexuality. That discretion was relaxed considerably in 1966 when, at 32, he met Thomas E. Zaremba, who was 19.
The details of their romantic relationship exploded into public view in 1996, when Mr. Zaremba filed a palimony suit against Mr. Cliburn seeking “multiple millions,” according to The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Mr. Zaremba, who had moved to Michigan and become a funeral director, claimed that during his 17-year relationship with Mr. Cliburn he had served as a business associate and promoter and that he had helped care for Mr. Cliburn’s mother, who died in 1994 at 97. The suit was eventually dismissed.
Mr. Cliburn returned to the concert stage in 1987, but his following performances were infrequent. The stress involved was almost palpable on May 21, 1998, when, to inaugurate a concert hall in Fort Worth, Mr. Cliburn played the Rachmaninoff Second Concerto with the Fort Worth Symphony, suffered a memory lapse in the final movement and collapsed onstage. He was given oxygen by a medical team backstage and taken to a hospital.
“It was a massive panic attack,” a friend, John Ardoin, who was a critic at The Dallas Morning News, said at the time. “It was sheer exhaustion and nervousness. Van had given a solo recital two days earlier, a really first-class performance, a black-tie affair with all of the cultural and political officialdom of Texas in attendance, and he was overwhelmed by it all.”
His last public appearance was in September, when he spoke at a concert, at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Van Cliburn Foundation. He is survived by Thomas L. Smith, with whom he shared his home for many years.
Mr. Cliburn leaves a lasting if not extensive discography. One recording in particular, his performance of the Rachmaninoff Third Concerto recorded live at Carnegie Hall on the night of his post-Tchaikovsky competition concert, was praised by Mr. Schonberg, the critic, for its technical strength, musical poise, and “manly lyricism unmarred by eccentricity.”
Mr. Schonberg then added, prophetically, “No matter what Cliburn eventually goes on to do this will be one of the great spots of his career; and if for some reason he fails to fulfill his potentialities, he will always have this to look back upon.”


 ****Van CLIBURN plays RACHMANINOV 3d Concerto VIDEO Moscow 1958 (1-5)
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apNTq-Tgf4w
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