Van Cliburn: A Portrait

A 1966 documentary from the Bell Telephone Hour

Certain chapters are not available.
Thank you for your understanding.


Van Cliburn — Pianist

Program notes

Van Cliburn will always be remembered as the first winner of the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1958, and the one and only American to ever win the now-legendary competition. This 1966 documentary transports us to the years following his victory, giving us a glimpse at his life during that time.

Cliburn narrates the film himself, recounting numerous personal anecdotes along the way. We glimpse him in rehearsals of Liszt's Piano Sonata and Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2. We watch him perform in concert the last movement of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 and Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3. Finally, a bonus clip shows the artist performing Schumann's and Liszt's Widmung and the third movement of Brahms' Piano Concerto, filmed at the Bell Telephone Hour in 1960.

Photo: Van Cliburn, Courtesy of the Van Cliburn Foundation

A closer look: featured composers

Further listening: featured works

Appears in

More info