A fellow Texas pianist and Rachmaninoff concerto performer has died.
Van Cliburn, the American pianist whose first-place award at the 1958 Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow made him an overnight sensation and propelled him to a phenomenally successful and lucrative career, though a short-lived one, died Wednesday morning in Fort Worth. He was 78.
After a long lapse in performance:
Mr. Cliburn returned to the concert stage in 1987, but his performances in the following years were infrequent. The stress involved was palpable on May 21, 1998, when, to inaugurate a new 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 brought to a nearby hospital for tests.
Interestingly, I played the first movement of the Rachmaninoff 2nd in Corpus Christi, Texas that same month.