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February 28, 2013 - Image 6

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6A - Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

6A - Thursday, February 28, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Van Cliburn, pianist and Cold
War hero, dies at 78 of cancer

Humanitarian and
renowned musician
from Texas
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -
For a time in Cold War America,
Van Cliburn had all the trappings
of a rock star: sold-out concerts,
adoring, out-of-control fans and a
name recognized worldwide. He
even got a ticker-tape parade in
New York City.
And he did it all with only a
piano and some Tchaikovsky
concertos.
The celebrated pianist played
for every American president
since Harry Truman, plus royal-
ty and heads of state around the
world. Buthe is best remembered
for winning a 1958 piano com-
petition in Moscow that helped
thaw the icy rivalry between
the United States and the Soviet
Union.
Cliburn, who died Wednesday
at 78 after fighting bone cancer,
was "a great humanitarian and
a brilliant musician whose light
will continue to shine through
his extraordinary legacy," said
his publicist and longtime friend
Mary Lou Falcone. "He will be
missed by all who knew and
admired him, and by countless
people he never met."
The young man from the small
east Texas town of Kilgore was
a baby-faced 23-year-old when
he won the first International
Tchaikovsky Competition in
Moscow just six months after
the Soviets' launch of Sputnik
embarrassed the U.S. and inau-
gurated the space race.
Cliburn returned to a hero's
welcome and the ticker-tape
parade - the first ever for a clas-
sical musician. A Time maga-
zine cover proclaimed him "The
Texan Who Conquered Russia."
The win also showed the
power of the arts, creating unity
despite the tension between the
superpowers. Music-loving Sovi-
ets clamored to see him perform.
Premier Nikita Khrushchev
reportedly gave the go-ahead for
the judges to honor a foreigner:
"Is Cliburn the best? Then give
him first prize."
In the years that followed, Cli-
burn's popularity soared. He sold

out concerts and caused riots
when he was spotted in public.
His fame even prompted an Elvis
Presley fan club to change its
name to his. His recording of the
Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.
1 with Russian conductor Kirill
Kondrashin became the first
classical album to reach platinum
status.
Time magazine's 1958 cover
story quoted a friend as saying
Cliburn could become "the first
man in history to be a Horowitz,
Liberace and Presley all rolled
into one."
Russian pianist Denis Mat-
suev, who won the Tchaikovsky
competition in 1998 at the age of
23, the same age as Cliburn, said
Cliburn's "romantic style cap-
tured the hearts of Soviet audi-
ence."
"Everyone was in love with
him," Matsuev said. "And he
loved the Soviet Union, Russia
and the Russian public."
Matsuev, who knew Cliburn
personally, described him as an
"incredibly delicate, kind and
gentle man who dedicated his
entire life to art."
He also used his skill and fame
to help other young musicians
through the Van Cliburn Inter-
national Music Competition,
held every four years. Created
in 1962 by a group of Fort Worth
teachers and citizens, it remains
among the top showcases for the
world's best pianists.
"Since we know that classical
music is timeless and everlasting,
it is precisely the eternal verities
inherent in classical music that
remain a spiritual beacon for
people all over the world," Cli-
burn once said.
President George W. Bush pre-
sented Cliburn with the Presi-
dential Medal of Freedom - the
nation's highest civilian honor
- in 2003. The following year,
he received the Order of Friend-
ship of the Russian Federation
from Russian President Vladimir
Putin.
"I still have lots of friends in
Russia," Cliburn said at the time.
"It's always a great pleasure to
talk to older people in Russia, to
hear their anecdotes."
After the death of his father
in 1974, Cliburn announced he
would soon retire to spend more

time with his ailing mother. He
stopped touring in 1978.
Among other things, tour-
ing robbed him of the chance to
enjoy opera and other musical
performances.
"I said to myself, 'Life is too
short.' I was missing so much,"
he told The New York Times in
2008. After winning the com-
petition, "it was thrilling to be
wanted. But it was pressure,
too."
Cliburn emerged from his
sabbatical in 1987, when he
played at a state dinner at the
White House during the historic Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius arrive
visit of Soviet leader Mikhail
Gorbachev. Gorbachev leapt from P o t
his seat to give the pianist abear-
hug and kisses on the cheeks.
Nancy Reagan, then the first
lady, has called that night one of- -
the greatest moments of her hus- f j j LU
band's presidency.
"After not playing in public for Herbal remedy in
many years, he agreed to make
an exception for this occasion, Olympian's bedroom
and his beautiful music brought
the whole room to tears," Reagan after girlfriend was
said in a statement Wednesday,
adding that "the world has lost a shot to death
true treasure."
Cliburn was born Harvey JOHANNESBURG (AP) -
Lavan Cliburn Jr. on July 12, The substance found in Oscar
1934, in Shreveport, La., the Pistorius' bedroom after the
son of oilman Harvey Cliburn shooting death of his girlfriend
Sr. and Rildia Bee O'Bryan Cli- was identified by his represen-
burn. At age 3, he began studying tatives Wednesday as Testis
piano with his mother, herself an compositum - an herbal rem-
accomplished pianist who had edy they said is used for "muscle
studied with a pupil of the great recovery." A product by that
19th century Hungarian pianist name also is sold as a sexual
Franz Liszt. enhancer.
The family moved back to Testis compositum is mar-
Kilgore within a few years of his keted by some online retail-
birth. ers in both oral and injectable
Cliburn won his first Texas forms as a testosterone booster
competition when he was 12, and and sexual performance aid that
two years later he played in Carn- contains the testicles, heart and
egie Hall as the winner of the embryo of pigs, among other
National Music Festival Award. ingredients. Some online retail-
At 17, Cliburn attended the ers also say it can be used to
Juilliard School in New York, treat fatigue.
where fellow students marveled At the Paralympian's bail
at his marathon practice sessions hearing last week in the shoot-
that stretched until 3 a.m. He ing death of Reeva Steenkamp,
studied under the famed Russian- police said they found needles
born pianist Rosina Lhevinne. in Pistorius' bedroom along with
Between 1952 and 1958, he the substance, which a detec-
won all but one competition he tive initially named in court as
entered, including the G.B. Deal- testosterone. Prosecutors later
ey Award from the Dallas Sym- withdrew that statement iden-
phony, the Kosciusko Foundation tifying the substance and said it
Chopin Scholarship and the pres- had been sent for lab tests and

es for a bail hearing in the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
"
s representatives
und substance

couldn't be named until those
tests were completed.
Pistorius spokeswoman
Lunice Johnston said in an email
to The Associated Press that the
athlete's lawyers had confirmed
that the substance is Testis com-
positum.
In the email, Johnston wrote
that the product was being used
"in aid of muscle recovery." She
did not say whether the sub-
stance was the same as the prod-
uct that is sold as a sex enhancer.
In court, Pistorius defense
lawyer Barry Roux said the sub-
stance was not banned by sports
authorities.
The World Anti-Doping
Agency said its science depart-
ment had already been made
aware of the substance and that
it wasn't banned.
"It would appear to be a
homeopathic treatment, and
these treatments are not prohib-
ited by the list," WADA said in a
statement to the AP.
Arne Ljungqvist, chairman of
the International Olympic Com-
mittee's medical commission,
told the AP he had not heard of
the product but that it sounded
like "a real cocktail, all pointing
in the same direction, namely
having something to do with tes-
tosterone."
"This sounds to me like some-
thing that needs to be analyzed
in order to make sure what it

is," Ljungqvist said in a phone
interview. "You cannot ban
something simply on claims and
names. It needs tobe looked into.
Even saying that it is testoster-
one boosting, it could contain
some precursors. It needs to have
some analysis."
Pieter Van Der Merwe, direc-
tor of South Africa's Doping
Control Laboratory in Bloem-
fontein, declined to comment on
whether a sample from Pistorius
had been sent to that laboratory
for testing.
Pistorius was charged with
premeditated murder in the
Valentine's Day shooting death
of Steenkamp. He says he shot
her by accident after mistaking
her for an intruder, in his home.
Prosecutors allege he intended to
kill her.
Police took Pistorius for a
medical examination when he
was arrested on Feb. 14, which
included blood-alcohol tests,
they said. The substance found
in his bedroom was also being
tested by police, who haven't
released results.
Pistorius, a multiple Paralym-
pic champion, underwent two
doping tests in London last year
around the Paralympics, the
International Paralympic Com-
mittee has said. He tested nega-
tive for any banned substances
in both tests in August and Sep-
tember. __

v

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