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A Teacher Remembers Van Cliburn

I enjoyed reading the Van Cliburn (Diploma ’54, piano) coverage [in the March and April Journals].

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You may be interested that the first time Van and his mother came to Juilliard was in 1947.  We were still in the building uptown [on Claremont Avenue at 122nd Street], and the summer school was in session. Mrs. Cliburn studied organ with me and Van, who was around 13 years old, studied piano with Katherine Bacon. Van was already quite tall and had curly hair.

After I moved to Nashville, Thor Johnson was conductor of the [Nashville] Symphony and he scheduled an all-Brahms concert including the two piano concertos, Cliburn playing both on the concert. When I saw him after the concert he told me he never would play both concertos again on the same program.

Henry Fusner
(B.S. ’44, M.S. ’45, organ; theory faculty 1945-47)
Nashville, Tenn.

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