Rildia Bee O'Bryan Cliburn and Irl Allison Receive MTNA Achievement Award

American Music Teacher, June-July 2006 | Go to article overview

Rildia Bee O'Bryan Cliburn and Irl Allison Receive MTNA Achievement Award


Rildia Bee O'Bryan Cliburn and Irl Allison were honored posthumously with the MTNA Achievement Award at the Opening Session of the 2006 MTNA National Conference in Austin, Texas.

Cliburn (1896-1994), a piano teacher and mother of pianist Van Cliburn, was born October 14, 1896, in McGregor, Texas, to William Carey and Sirrildia (McClain) O'Bryan. After early piano lessons from her mother and local teacher Prebble Drake, and after graduating from high school in Richmond, Texas, Rildia studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory and later in New York. She studied under Arthur Friedheim, a pupil of Franz Liszt. In 1923, Rildia married Harvey Lavan Cliburn, a native of Mississippi and a railroad employee. She passed the grand 19th-century virtuoso tradition on to her son, who revived and personified that tradition for audiences in the second half of the 20th century.

Allison (1896-1979), a music educator, had long desired to launch a competition that would help music students raise the quality of their work. He began by founding the National Guild of Piano Teachers, which used a system of auditions to help teachers and their students assess their progress and proficiency.

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Rildia Bee O'Bryan Cliburn and Irl Allison Receive MTNA Achievement Award
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