Van Cliburn, the gifted pianist who electrified America by winning the first International Tchaikovsky Competition, in 1958, passed away this morning, at age seventy-eight. Cliburn was remarkable for many reasons—for his musical gift, certainly, but also for his odd career. He achieved worldwide fame at twenty-three, when he won the Competition, which was held in Moscow in the midst of the Cold War, and he embarked on a number of successful concert tours. But he gradually gave up performing and announced his retirement in 1978, when he was only forty-four years old.
The New Yorker’s archives contain two snapshots of Cliburn around the time of his Moscow success.
Here’s a look at Van Cliburn in the archive: http://nyr.kr/WipBW0
Photograph by J. Siegelman/Time Life Pictures/Getty.