Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia is saddened by the loss of a great musician, the eminent pianist Van Cliburn. Brother Cliburn was awarded the Fraternity’s Charles E. Lutton Man of Music Award at the 1962 Convention, where he was also made a National Honorary Member. Pianist Cliburn proved himself a capable banquet speaker when he presented the main address of the evening to a wildly appreciative audience and concluded his address by playing two selections at the piano. Van Cliburn was initiated into Alpha Chi Chapter at the University of Tulsa in 1958, the same year in which he participated in the International Tchaikovsky Competition in the former Soviet Union. At this contest, designed to boast the musical genius of the Soviet race, Cliburn took home the first prize and was known as the “Texan who beat the Soviets.” He arrived back in the United States to a ticker-tape parade in New York, the only musician in history to be given such an honor.
“He has outsoared the shadow of our night;
Envy and calumny, and hate and pain,
And that unrest which men miscall delight,
Can touch him not and torture not again…”