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Van Cliburn back in Moscow as honorary chairman of Tchaikovsky Competition

Posted 5:28pm on Tuesday, Jun. 21, 2011

Van Cliburn has gone back to the place where it all started.

The pianist is in Moscow this week, serving as the honorary chairman for the piano section of the 2011 Tchaikovsky Competition.

Cliburn made history and helped to break cultural boundaries when, in 1958, at the age of 23, he was the first American pianist ever to win the competition.

He has since returned to the country but never to the competition.

Richard Rodzinski, Cliburn's friend and longtime head of the Van Cliburn Foundation, serves as general director of the Tchaikovsky Competition.

He retired from the Cliburn in 2009 and was tapped to help restore the Tchaikovsky to its long-ago status as a premier international cultural event.

The 2011 competition is the first under Rodzinski's leadership.

On Sunday night, John Beyrle, U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation, will host a dinner in Cliburn's honor at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, the Cliburn Foundation announced.

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