Van Cliburn (Harvey Lavan Cliburn) (klī´bərn), 1934–2013, American pianist, b. Shreveport, La. Until 1951, Cliburn studied with his mother, a concert pianist, and later he became a pupil of Rosina Lhévinne at the Juilliard School of Music. Cliburn won the 1958 International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow, and immediately became a cultural sensation and a cold war hero. His warm tone, superb technique, and sensitive interpretations were especially well-suited to Romantic music. In 1962 a group of his admirers created the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Tex.