Van Cliburn to perform at Liberty Medal ceremony

August 25, 2008 5:25:57 AM PDT
Classical pianist Van Cliburn will perform a rare concert in Philadelphia during the 2008 Liberty Medal ceremony honoring former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. It will be the 50th anniversary year of the Texas native's victory at the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.

Van Cliburn, now 74, was only 23 years old when he won that competition on April 14, 1958, at the height of the Cold War. Nikita Khruschev, who was premier at the time, granted permission to the Soviet judges to award the prize to an American.

The National Constitution Center's 2008 Liberty Medal will be awarded to Gorbachev for his role in ending the Cold War.

The Liberty Medal ceremony will take place at the National Constitution Center on Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008, at 7 p.m.

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