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Shreveport-Born Pianist Van Cliburn Dies at Age 78

Legendary pianist Van Cliburn died this morning at his mansion near Fort Worth after a battle with advanced bone cancer. He was 78.

Cliburn was born in Shreveport and raised in Kilgore, Texas. At age five, he told his parents he was going to be a concert pianist — a feat they at first discounted. But after graduating from Kilgore High School at age 16, he headed to Juilliard, where he graduated three years later.

He went on to wow the world with his talent. He’s been called “The Texan Who Conquered Russia” and developed quite a following there after his first visit. At the age of 23, Cliburn won the first ever International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow in 1958.

[via Star-Telegram]

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