Tall Texan Wins Top Prize, Nikita Hug at Piano Trial
Press Wlreuhoto Here's Texan Van CJiburii who walked off wilh . I jifi,2. l 50 in the Tchaikovsky international piano competition in Moscow. Tall Texan Wins Top Prize, Nikita Hug at Piano Trial By Associated Press MOSCOW, April 14— Van Cliburn, trie Texas capitalist's son who won Russia's Tchaikovsky piano contest, got a bear hug from Nikita Khrushchev Monday night. The lanky American met the Soviet pi-emier at a Kremlin Kremlin reception for the contestants of the international violin and piano competitions held here. Bushy-haired and 6-4, Cliburn told newsmen later Kru- shchev greeted him with 'a -hug and asked: "Why are you so tall?" "Because I'm from Texas," Chilburn replied. "You must have lots of yeast in Texas," said Khrushchev. Khrushchev. And Cliburn replied: "No, it's vitamin pills." Cliburn, who collected 25,000 rubles (officially 56,250) and a gold medal as the winner of the contest, asked Khrushchev what he could play for him. The Soviet leader held back his request and said: "We are planning a party for you tomorrow night." Then Khrushchev greeted' the other finalists, including two other Americans, and went off to congratulate U.S. Ambasador Llewelyn Thompson on Cliburn's victory. CLIBURN, who played through the competitions with a bandaged index finger and lost 10 pounds doing it, brought a > Moscow- audience ,to its feet cheering wildly Friday night when he plkyed his final round. He' won Moscow's heart ..and Americans in the, capital found themselves suddenly getting haiidsh'akes from Russian enthusiasts. There clearly we're no sour grapes among the Russians, whose entry, Lev Vlasienko, tied for second place with Communist China's Liu Shi Kin. . At the awards session Monday night, Cliburn received a long ovation when Soviet composer Dmitri Kabalevsky called him to the stage, where composed Dmitri Shoste- kovitch, chairman of the competition, handed him the first prize gold medal. Cliburn replied with a minute-long speech in Russian. I !