Van Cliburn to perform at Liberty Medal ceremony

August 25, 2008 12:40:18 PM PDT
Classical pianist Van Cliburn will perform next month during the 2008 Liberty Medal ceremony in Philadelphia honoring former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.

The Texas native, now 74, was only 23 when he won the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958, at the height of the Cold War. Nikita Khruschev, who was premier at the time, gave 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 ceremony will be held Sept. 18 at the center.