I heard him perform in Chicago right after he returned from Russia after winning the competition. It is a highly treasured memory. I know he led a lonely life as so many concert pianists do. But he was so instrumental in promoting young pianists at his piano competitions in Texas. They actually have a Chopin competition every 5 years...in Texas!!
I don't think he ever received the accolades he deserved. A gentle giant in so many ways.
Thank you so much Mr. Cliburn.
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891
Interestingly, the famous US critic B.H. Haggin forever maintained that Van Cliburn was an exceptional pianist who was maligned by critics. It may indeed have been the generally unfavorable reception of US music critics which kept Cliburn away from the concert stage for much of his career.