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Cliburn appears at competition’s 50th anniversary

In this photo provided by the Van Cliburn Foundation, Texas pianist Van Cliburn performs to a packed audience in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory in Moscow, Russia, in April 1958 during the first International Tchaikovsky Competition, which he won. AP/Courtesy of Van Cliburn Foundation, file

FORT WORTH, Texas — Renowned classical pianist Van Cliburn has appeared in public for the first time since he was diagnosed with advanced bone cancer.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports the 78-year-old pianist shuffled onto the Bass Hall stage in Fort Worth on Thursday night. He appeared after the Fort Worth Symphony finished playing the “Star-Spangled Banner” to open a concert marking the 50th anniversary of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

Alann Simpson, interim president and CEO of the Van Cliburn Foundation, told the Star-Telegram that Cliburn “willed himself to do it.”

Cliburn’s publicist revealed the pianist’s cancer diagnosis late last month. Cliburn, who lives in Fort Worth, shot to fame in 1958 when he won the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow at age 23.


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