That Texan Could Play

     Every once in a while  the right combination of talent, charisma, looks, and showmanship elevate a performer above all the equally hard working and committed artists to become a star for the ages.  In 1958, a young classical pianist from Texas boldly took the musical prize that Russians considered their birthright, the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition, and took the musical world’s heart with him.  The United States had been on its heels after the Russian launch of Sputnik in 1957, and on the most unlikely stage in the Cold War, a concert stage in Moscow, seized the momentum back.  In the style of Lindbergh  in 1927 before him, and the American Olympic hockey team in 1980, unassuming Americans performed for the ages and tilted the world briefly on its axis towards the Western Ideal.

First a video that captures the moment:

Then, enjoy the genius of Van Cliburn:

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