Friday, July 26, 2013

An afternoon at the park in Van Cliburn's memory

Svetlana Yashirin welcomed everyone to Antelope Park for the Van Cliburn Celebration and spoke about Cliburn's legacy--that for him, music was more than a career, more than a passion, for Cliburn, music was a mission. 60 years after his triumph in Russia during the Cold War, Cliburn is remembered for not only his own performances, but for his support of young musicians.

Lincoln Music Teachers' Association hosted the celebration this month at Antelope Park on Cliburn's birthday. Pianists of all levels performed, from young and adult students to professional teachers and performers. The concert closed with an arrangement by Van Cliburn performed by Denis Plutalov.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Van Cliburn Celebration: Lincoln pianists honor a legend

File:Van Cliburn - George Singer Tel Aviv 1962.jpg
Svetlana Yashirin said that "a decade ago I dreamt about Van Cliburn coming to Lincoln to an opening ceremony of the Community Music School and cutting a blue ribbon…" with Van Cliburn's passing earlier this year, that dream will never come true, but, Yashirin says, "[Cliburn's] legacy is going to remain with us, legacy of a man with a big heart. I felt that I needed to tell my students about this man, about an incredible transformative power of music. Van Cliburn was very serious and articulate about his attitude to music. He detested the word entertainment; instead, he understood music as a mission."

To honor Cliburn's legacy, LMTA is hosting a "Van Cliburn Celebration" from 5:00 to 7:15 p.m. this Friday, July 12, at the Antelope Park Band Shell (27th & A Streets). The event will be free and open to the public.  Intermediate and advanced solo and duo pianists of all ages will be performing. The LMTA website states the objective of the event: "to provide information on the power of music to overcome barriers of prejudice and hostility on the example of 'Van' Cliburn. Piano music from all eras will be represented." 
The website goes on to explain why Cliburn's legacy is so important: 
"Harvey Lavan 'Van' Cliburn, Jr., was an American pianist who achieved worldwide recognition in 1958 at the age of 23, when he won the first quadrennial International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow at the height of the Cold War.
Cliburn returned home to a ticker-tape parade in New York City, the only time the honor has been accorded a classical musician. His cover story in Time magazine proclaimed him 'The Texan Who Conquered Russia.'"
Yashirin explains what Cliburn means to her: "He is a great inspiration to all, especially to musicians. When musicians start to forget about their responsibility of taking their craft seriously, God sends a messenger. Van Cliburn was one of His messengers. People around the world were shaken by a profound message of love communicated through a medium of piano music."
In Cliburn's words, “I appreciate more than you will ever know that you are honoring me, but the thing that thrills me the most is that you are honoring classical music. Because I'm only one of many, I'm only a witness and a messenger. Because I believe so much in the beauty, the construction, the architecture invisible, the importance for all generations, for young people to come that it will help their minds, develop their attitudes, and give them values. That is why I'm so grateful that you have honored me in that spirit.”
Cliburn founded the Van Cliburn Piano Competition which is a celebration of piano music and pianists, both professional and amateur. That is why, Yashirin says, that LMTA has "invited piano players of all ages and levels of skill to participate in this tribute."
Join these pianists in honoring the legendary Van Cliburn this Friday and celebrating "the beauty, the construction, the architecture invisible" of music.