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Cliburn Piano Contest Begins In Fort Worth

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Accomplished pianist Van Cliburn has special ties to Texas. He was raised in Kilgore and profiled by Time magazine as ‘The Texan Who Conquered Russia’ after he won a Russian piano competition during the Cold War. His Van Cliburn Foundation, which aims to foster and showcase extraordinary musical talent, is based in Fort Worth. Here he is pictured receiving the 2010 National Medal of Arts. (credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Accomplished pianist Van Cliburn has special ties to Texas. He was raised in Kilgore and profiled by Time magazine as ‘The Texan Who Conquered Russia’ after he won a Russian piano competition during the Cold War. His Van Cliburn Foundation, which aims to foster and showcase extraordinary musical talent, is based in Fort Worth. Here he is pictured receiving the 2010 National Medal of Arts. (credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

FORT WORTH (AP) - The 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition kicks off Friday in North Texas.

Thirty contestants from 12 countries will start competing in the preliminary round of the competition that’s held every four years in Fort Worth. Awards will be presented June 9.

Some teachers and residents who wanted to honor Cliburn created the contest in 1962.

In 1958 he gained worldwide fame and rock-star status by winning the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. His win also helped thaw the icy rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union.

He died in February at age 78 at his Fort Worth home after battling bone cancer. He was never a judge in the Cliburn competition but presented awards.

The contest remains among the top showcases for the world’s best pianists.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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