This morning I saw in the news that legendary pianist Van Cliburn had passed away on Wednesday.
Van Cliburn brings back many memories of listening to his many recordings and also reading about the celebrity that he attained for winning the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1958. When I was young I read The Van Cliburn Legend by Abram Chasins. I still have the book on my shelves and may read it again soon.
I often listen to Van Cliburn recordings as they shuffle through my i-tunes play list and on XM Pops as I commute to work. I am sure that he is getting a lot of air play today. Piano music is the type of music that I listen to the most, and I always enjoy listening to his work.
Van Cliburn started taking piano lessons at three which made me think of this old picture of me.
I was definitely not a piano prodigy, but did take lessons for a few years and still will occasionally sit down and play the piano. You can read more about this picture of me in my post Piano History.
Van Cliburn started his lessons with his mother Rildia who had studied with Arthur Friedheim who was one of the last students of Franz Liszt. I find it interesting to follow the chain of teachers and students. Liszt took lessons from Carl Czerny who had taken lessons from Ludwig van Beethoven.We can continue back through Christian Gottlob Neefe, Johann Adam Hiller, Gottfried August Homilius, Johann Sebastian Bach, Johann Christoph Bach, Johann Pachelbel, Heinrich Schwemmer and Johann Erasmus Kindermann to the great teacher Johann Staden who established the Nuremburg tradition in the early 1600’s.
Play some Van Cliburn piano music today and remember this great pianist as you listen and relax.
Who is your favorite pianists? I have many favorites including Glen Gould, Vladimir Ashkenazy and The 5 Browns.