Peter Rosen walks in the footsteps of Harvey Lavan Van Cliburn, who at the height of the Cold War, was awarded the first prize at the very first edition of the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. It was in 1958, and Cliburn was aged 23.
The film is a reference, for the amount of archive material it gathers – personal archive material owned by the Cliburn family, but also rare footages from concerts and performances. For this highly documented program, Peter Rosen has also met with close relatives of the pianist, such as his mother Rildia Bee O'Bryan Cliburn, the actress Arlene Dahl, the pianist Gary Graffman – a first prize like him of the Leventritt Competition – and the announcer Martin Bookspan, who reminds us of Van Cliburn's popularity in the United States after his victory at the Tchaikovsky Competition.
BBC Television Studios, 1959-1960