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  1. 02 Mar '13 22:44 / 1 edit
    On 27 February 2013, Van Cliburn died. In 1958 he had gained worldwide fame
    by winning the International Tchaikovksy Piano Competition in Moscow, and that
    feat had seemed to overshadow (in the media) the rest of his life.

    Could Van Cliburn have achieved what he did if he were a young pianist today?
    I don't mean just winning the Tchaikovsky Piano Competition; I mean in the
    sense that Van Cliburn became a cultural hero in both the USA and the USSR.
    To nationalistic Americans (most of whom probably cared little about his music),
    Van Cliburn had shown proof of American superiority, even over Russian culture,
    during the Cold War. While acknowledging his US passport, the Soviet people
    did not resent Van Cliburn on account of it. Instead, Russians tended to embrace
    Van Cliburn as an adopted son of Russian culture. More than a few music-loving
    young women in the USSR developed romantic crushes on Van Cliburn.

    I doubt that the Van Cliburn phenomenon could happen today. In the first place,
    Western classical music has less relevance in American culture (though it seems
    to be growing in influence in some East Asian cultures). Also, the media is much
    more personally intrusive. At a time when Van Cliburn (who was gay) was
    expected to stay in the closet, the media maintained a discreet silence about
    his sexual orientation. (How hard would life have become for Van Cliburn if he
    had been 'outed' in 1950s Texas?) Most of his many female admirers seemed not
    to suspect that their feelings for Van Cliburn would not have been reciprocated.
    So I suppose that Van Cliburn was a fortunate man in rising to fame when he did
    rather than today (when his sexual orientation would become tabloid fodder).
    I don't know, however, that Van Cliburn would have preferred to be remembered
    more as a cultural hero of the Cold War than as a fine classical musician.
  2. 02 Mar '13 23:09
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    On 27 February 2013, Van Cliburn died. In 1958 he had gained worldwide fame
    by winning the International Tchaikovksy Piano Competition in Moscow, and that
    feat had seemed to overshadow (in the media) the rest of his life.

    Could Van Cliburn have achieved what he did if he were a young pianist today?
    I don't mean just winning the Tchaikovsky Piano Com ...[text shortened]... to be remembered
    more as a cultural hero of the Cold War than as a fine classical musician.
    In the late '50s and early '60s I had quite a few albums of Van Cliburn performances, along with Elvis and Fats.

    I had no idea he was gay, not that it mattered. I wonder, whether staying "in the closet" harmed or helped him. I wonder if the many socialite gay people who "come out" with great flair and pomp, really do any good for the run of the mill gay man or woman who just wishes to be left alone?
  3. 02 Mar '13 23:15
    Originally posted by normbenign
    In the late '50s and early '60s I had quite a few albums of Van Cliburn performances, along with Elvis and Fats.

    I had no idea he was gay, not that it mattered. I wonder, whether staying "in the closet" harmed or helped him. I wonder if the many socialite gay people who "come out" with great flair and pomp, really do any good for the run of the mill gay man or woman who just wishes to be left alone?
    In 1998 Van Cliburn was unsuccessfully sued by his (gay) domestic partner,
    who demanded some of his assets. Van Cliburn was 'outed' then, if not earlier.
  4. Standard member bill718
    Enigma
    03 Mar '13 22:37
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    On 27 February 2013, Van Cliburn died. In 1958 he had gained worldwide fame
    by winning the International Tchaikovksy Piano Competition in Moscow, and that
    feat had seemed to overshadow (in the media) the rest of his life.

    Could Van Cliburn have achieved what he did if he were a young pianist today?
    I don't mean just winning the Tchaikovsky Piano Com ...[text shortened]... to be remembered
    more as a cultural hero of the Cold War than as a fine classical musician.
    Music is a universal language, I'm not suprised the Soviet people did not resent him for being an American. I'm sure they understood Van Cliburn cared far more for his music, than politics. I doubt however that Van Cliburn would have been the same household name today if he were a young pianast. The world of entertainment is many times larger than in the days of the cold war, he would have been a big duck, in a far larger pond. RIP Van Cliburn...your music was a joy to listen to!
  5. 04 Mar '13 00:35
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    In 1998 Van Cliburn was unsuccessfully sued by his (gay) domestic partner,
    who demanded some of his assets. Van Cliburn was 'outed' then, if not earlier.
    You ignored the main point I asked about. Do you think that coming out, or being outed is a good thing for gays, or any other minority that isn't identifiable visually? If they can live peacefully, and comfortably "in the closet" why not?
  6. 04 Mar '13 01:11 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by normbenign
    You ignored the main point I asked about. Do you think that coming out, or being outed is a good thing for gays, or any other minority that isn't identifiable visually? If they can live peacefully, and comfortably "in the closet" why not?
    You mean that was a serious question? I don't believe that I have the right
    to tell gay or lesbian people ("or any other minority that isn't identifiable
    visually" ) whether or not they should 'come out of the closet'.

    Given that you (Normbenign) seem very concerned about other people
    (such as your government) telling you how you should lead your life, why
    don't you attempt to extend that kind of tolerance toward other people?
  7. 04 Mar '13 01:15
    If this guy wasn't gay, would wouldn't have brought this up. People like you are simply pathetic.
  8. 04 Mar '13 01:22
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    You mean that was a serious question? I don't believe that I have the right
    to tell gay or lesbian people ("or any other minority that isn't identifiable
    visually" ) whether or not they should 'come out of the closet'.

    Given that you (Normbenign) seem very concerned about other people
    (such as your government) telling you how you should lead your life, why
    don't you attempt to extend that kind of tolerance toward other people?
    "Given that you (Normbenign) seem very concerned about other people (such as your government) telling you how you should lead your life, why don't you attempt to extend that kind of tolerance toward other people?"

    Exactly my point! I don't have a dog in the hunt, but why is it presumed that all gay and lesbians out to "come out"? What I asked had nothing to do with compulsion, but whether every day people with that life style benefit by activist's actions calling undesired attention to them. You have no idea of my level of tolerance.
  9. 04 Mar '13 01:23
    Originally posted by Eladar
    If this guy wasn't gay, would wouldn't have brought this up. People like you are simply pathetic.
    Flat out wrong.
  10. 04 Mar '13 01:31
    Originally posted by normbenign
    "Given that you (Normbenign) seem very concerned about other people (such as your government) telling you how you should lead your life, why don't you attempt to extend that kind of tolerance toward other people?"

    Exactly my point! I don't have a dog in the hunt, but why is it presumed that all gay and lesbians out to "come out"? What I asked had noth ...[text shortened]... actions calling undesired attention to them. You have no idea of my level of tolerance.
    I don't have any problem with Van Cliburn's decision to 'come out' or not.
    You should recognise, however, that it was not his truly free decision to make,
    given the bigotry that Van Cliburn would have encountered in 1950s (or later)
    Texas if he had declared his sexual orientation in public. 'Coming out' as gay or
    lesbian usually had and still often has adverse consequences for one's career.
    This seems less true in show business. But if, just after winning the
    International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow, Van Cliburn had
    declared that he's homosexual, would New York City have given him a
    ticker-tape parade? Would he have had as many bookings for recitals?
  11. 04 Mar '13 01:53
    Originally posted by normbenign
    Flat out wrong.
    Look at the discussion that was used to bring it up.