It was very sad to me to hear that Van Cliburn passed away today (I can't believe no one has posted on it yet). I knew he had been quite ill last summer. He was one of my favorite pianists and was a true American hero. His Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto no.1 was the first ever classical record to sell a million records, and he was the only musician to receive a ticker-tape parade in NY City. He was a "pedagogical uncle" to me (he and one of my teachers were pupils at the same time in the same studio). I heard that he was allowed the priviledge of serving as Honorary Judge at the 2011 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition and was litterally swamped by all the admireres still in Russia.