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: