Van Cliburn 2001

There was a "first" at the Van Cliburn piano competition which ended last night (June 10) in Fort Worth, Texas. Never before had two candidates taken a first prize. Both gold medals and a cash award of $ 20,000 each were given to Eastern Europeans, the winners being Olga Kern of Russia, and Stanislav Ioudenitch, who is originally from Uzbekistan and has lived in the United States for three years. The Van Cliburn competition is held once every four years and is considered the most important competition in America. It was named after pianist Van Cliburn who won the First Prize at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958. At the height of the Cold War, Van Cliburn's success was a sensation, making him a super star overnight. The Van Cliburn Competition has also produced some renowned pianists, most notably the Rumanian Radu Lupu, who took the Texan Gold in 1966. The winners of the last few competitions, however, are still waiting for their breakthrough. Georg Hirsch takes a look at this year's winners.

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