Van Cliburn Returns to Russia for Beslan Tribute

Classic Arts News   Van Cliburn Returns to Russia for Beslan Tribute
Pianist Van Cliburn will perform a tribute to the victims of the Beslan school massacre tonight in Moscow, the Associated Press reports.

The trip is Cilburn's tenth visit to Russia. In 1958, at age 23, he won the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition there, and remains the only American to have won the prestigious competition.

His performance in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, scheduled before the massacre took place, will now include Chopin's Funeral March as well Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1.

Last night, Russian president Vladimir Putin presented Cliburn with the Order of Friendship of the Russian Federation. "This is a token of recognition of your personal contribution to the Russian-American cultural relations and of your merits in strengthening mutual trust and understanding between our two peoples," Putin said.

More than 330 people, including many children, died after Chechnyan separatists took control of School Number One in the North Ossetian town of Beslan earlier this month.

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