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Mozart's Attic Thursday Oct. 18th at 10:00 pm

Van Cliburn

It must have been an uncomfortable moment when the judges at Moscow's 1958 Tchaikovsky Piano Competition had to tell Nikita Khrushchev that an American had clearly won, and had become the audience darling. It wasn't supposed to happen that way. What to do? Khrushchev personally okayed the award, and Van Cliburn became an instant Cold War hero in the West.

It was Cliburn's performance of the Tchaikovsky Concerto No. 1 that won the prize. The subsequent recording -- made upon his return home -- remained the best-seling classical album for more than ten years, and it will be our featured work this Thursday.

A transplant from Athens, Georgia, Robb maintains WFIT's website and social media and is the host of Left Of The Dial.