55-year-old Van Cliburn recording unearthed in Dallas, Texas

01 July 2022
By Ellie Palmer
A long-lost performance of the late pianist has been discovered at the studios of Dallas radio station, WRR

Some incredible news to end the week with: A radio station in Dallas, Texas, has announced it has located a 55-year-old recording of none other than the great Van Cliburn – who fittingly appears on the latest cover of Pianist.

The recording features the pianist playing Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 2 with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra at Southern Methodist University’s McFarlin Auditorium. The performance is believed to have been aired once on WRR in 1977, but was recorded ten years earlier in 1967.

Forth Worth Culture Map reports that local archivist John Slate found the recording with assistant archivist Kristi Nedderman. Slate explains: "It's a delight to turn up a gem like this. For us it's like finding an unpublished Gertrude Stein poem."

According to WRR, the pair initially found the recording in 2019.

It's a perfectly-timed announcement given the 16th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition has just taken place. Van Cliburn founded the competition 60 years ago. The Gold Medal for the latest edition was awarded to 18-year-old South Korean pianist Yunchan Lim. You can read the full story of this year's competition here. 

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WRR re-aired the recording in a very special show, Cliburn Uncovered. Along with hearing the recording itself, you can also hear the full backstory of the discovery below.