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September 10, 2012

Van Cliburn, battling bone cancer, makes surprise appearance onstage

Van Cliburn, who is battling advanced bone cancer, made a surprise appearance the other day at a concert marking the 50th anniversary of the international piano competition that bears his name in Fort Worth.

I've posted video of the event below. It is really something to see.

The 78-year-old Cliburn arrived unexpectedly at the concert hall at 7:29 p.m., a minute before the performance was to have started. According to

a vividly detailed news report, he left his oxygen tank backstage and walked out with the support of Fort Worth Symphony music director Miguel Harth-Bedoya.

(I couldn't help but recall the time in mid-1990s when I was backstage at the San Francisco Symphony's hall watching everyone go slightly crazy, wondering if the famed pianist would show for the season-opening concert. But in he walked from his car, mere seconds to spare, and headed directly onto the stage to play the Tchaikovsky concerto as if he hadn't a care in the world. Talk about a trouper.)

It is heart-warming to see and hear Cliburn at this Fort Worth event, to realize the courage it took for him to be there:

 

Posted by Tim Smith at 10:47 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Clef Notes
        

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at baltimoresun.com/artsmash. This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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