Van Cliburn
Overview
 
Harvey Lavan "Van" Cliburn Jr. (born July 12, 1934) is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 pianist
Pianist
A pianist is a musician who plays the piano. A professional pianist can perform solo pieces, play with an ensemble or orchestra, or accompany one or more singers, solo instrumentalists, or other performers.-Choice of genres:...

 who achieved worldwide recognition in 1958 at age 23, when he won the first quadrennial International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition
International Tchaikovsky Competition
The International Tchaikovsky Competition is a classical music competition held every four years in Moscow, Russia for pianists, violinists, and cellists between 16 and 30 years of age, and singers between 19 and 32 years of age...

 in Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, at the height of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

.
Van Cliburn was born in Shreveport
Shreveport, Louisiana
Shreveport is the third largest city in Louisiana. It is the principal city of the fourth largest metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana and is the 109th-largest city in the United States....

, Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

, and began taking piano lessons at the age of three from his mother, Rildia Bee O'Bryan Cliburn. O'Bryan was taught by Arthur Friedheim
Arthur Friedheim
Arthur Friedheim was a Russian-born pianist, conductor and composer who was one of Franz Liszt's foremost pupils.Friedheim was born in Saint Petersburg in 1859. He began serious study of music at age eight...

, a pupil of Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt ; ), was a 19th-century Hungarian composer, pianist, conductor, and teacher.Liszt became renowned in Europe during the nineteenth century for his virtuosic skill as a pianist. He was said by his contemporaries to have been the most technically advanced pianist of his age...

. At six years old, Cliburn moved with his family to Kilgore, Texas
Kilgore, Texas
Kilgore is a city in Gregg and Rusk Counties in the eastern part of the U.S. state of Texas. It is the home of Kilgore College, and was also the childhood home of famous classical pianist Van Cliburn...

, and at twelve he won a statewide piano competition which enabled him to debut with the Houston Symphony Orchestra
Houston Symphony Orchestra
The Houston Symphony is an American orchestra based in Houston, Texas. Since 1966, it has performed at the Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts in downtown Houston....

.
Encyclopedia
Harvey Lavan "Van" Cliburn Jr. (born July 12, 1934) is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 pianist
Pianist
A pianist is a musician who plays the piano. A professional pianist can perform solo pieces, play with an ensemble or orchestra, or accompany one or more singers, solo instrumentalists, or other performers.-Choice of genres:...

 who achieved worldwide recognition in 1958 at age 23, when he won the first quadrennial International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition
International Tchaikovsky Competition
The International Tchaikovsky Competition is a classical music competition held every four years in Moscow, Russia for pianists, violinists, and cellists between 16 and 30 years of age, and singers between 19 and 32 years of age...

 in Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, at the height of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

.

Career

Van Cliburn was born in Shreveport
Shreveport, Louisiana
Shreveport is the third largest city in Louisiana. It is the principal city of the fourth largest metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana and is the 109th-largest city in the United States....

, Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

, and began taking piano lessons at the age of three from his mother, Rildia Bee O'Bryan Cliburn. O'Bryan was taught by Arthur Friedheim
Arthur Friedheim
Arthur Friedheim was a Russian-born pianist, conductor and composer who was one of Franz Liszt's foremost pupils.Friedheim was born in Saint Petersburg in 1859. He began serious study of music at age eight...

, a pupil of Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt ; ), was a 19th-century Hungarian composer, pianist, conductor, and teacher.Liszt became renowned in Europe during the nineteenth century for his virtuosic skill as a pianist. He was said by his contemporaries to have been the most technically advanced pianist of his age...

. At six years old, Cliburn moved with his family to Kilgore, Texas
Kilgore, Texas
Kilgore is a city in Gregg and Rusk Counties in the eastern part of the U.S. state of Texas. It is the home of Kilgore College, and was also the childhood home of famous classical pianist Van Cliburn...

, and at twelve he won a statewide piano competition which enabled him to debut with the Houston Symphony Orchestra
Houston Symphony Orchestra
The Houston Symphony is an American orchestra based in Houston, Texas. Since 1966, it has performed at the Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts in downtown Houston....

. He entered the Juilliard School
Juilliard School
The Juilliard School, located at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, United States, is a performing arts conservatory which was established in 1905...

 at age 17, and studied under Rosina Lhévinne
Rosina Lhévinne
Rosina Bessie Lhévinne was a Russian American pianist and famed pedagogue....

, who trained him in the tradition of the great Russian romantics. At age 20, Cliburn won the Leventritt Award
Leventritt Competition
The Leventritt Competition was a highly prestigious international competition for classical pianists and violinists. It was founded in 1939 by the Edgar M. Leventritt Foundation Inc. of Cold Spring, New York, in memory of jurist Edgar M. Leventritt....

, and made his Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States, located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east stretch of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street, two blocks south of Central Park....

 debut.

It was his recognition in Moscow that propelled Cliburn to international fame. The first International Tchaikovsky Competition
International Tchaikovsky Competition
The International Tchaikovsky Competition is a classical music competition held every four years in Moscow, Russia for pianists, violinists, and cellists between 16 and 30 years of age, and singers between 19 and 32 years of age...

 in 1958 was an event designed to demonstrate Soviet cultural superiority during the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, on the heels of their technological victory with the Sputnik launch in October 1957. Cliburn's performance at the competition finale of Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский ; often "Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky" in English. His names are also transliterated "Piotr" or "Petr"; "Ilitsch", "Il'ich" or "Illyich"; and "Tschaikowski", "Tschaikowsky", "Chajkovskij"...

's Piano Concerto No. 1
Piano Concerto No. 1 (Tchaikovsky)
The Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23 was composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky between November 1874 and February 1875. It was revised in the summer of 1879 and again in December 1888. The first version received heavy criticism from Nikolai Rubinstein, Tchaikovsky's desired pianist....

 and Rachmaninoff
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. Rachmaninoff is widely considered one of the finest pianists of his day and, as a composer, one of the last great representatives of Romanticism in Russian classical music...

's Piano Concerto No. 3
Piano Concerto No. 3 (Rachmaninoff)
The Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30, composed in 1909 by Sergei Rachmaninoff is famous for its technical and musical demands on the performer...

 earned him a standing ovation lasting eight minutes. When it was time to announce a winner, the judges were obliged to ask permission of the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

 to give first prize to an American. "Is he the best?" Khrushchev asked. "Then give him the prize!" Cliburn returned home to a ticker-tape parade
Ticker-tape parade
A ticker-tape parade is a parade event held in a built-up urban setting, allowing large amounts of shredded paper to be thrown from nearby office buildings onto the parade route, creating a celebratory effect by the snowstorm-like flurry...

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, the only time the honor has been accorded a classical musician. His cover story in Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

proclaimed him "The Texan Who Conquered Russia."

Upon returning to the United States, Cliburn appeared in a Carnegie Hall concert with the Symphony of the Air, conducted by Kirill Kondrashin, who had led the Moscow Philharmonic in the prize-winning performances in Moscow. The performance of the Rachmaninoff 3rd Piano Concerto at this concert was subsequently released by RCA Victor on both LP and CD. Cliburn was also invited by Steve Allen
Steve Allen
Steve Allen may refer to:*Steve Allen , American musician, comedian, and writer*Steve Allen , presenter on the London-based talk radio station LBC 97.3...

 to play a solo during Allen's prime time NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 television program on April 14, 1958.

RCA Victor signed him to an exclusive contract, and his subsequent recording of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 became the first classical album to go platinum. It was the best-selling classical album in the world for more than a decade, eventually going triple-platinum. Cliburn won the 1958 Grammy Award
Grammy Award
A Grammy Award — or Grammy — is an accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry...

 for Best Classical Performance
Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with orchestra)
The Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance was awarded from 1959 to 2011. From 1967 to 1971 and in 1987 the award was combined with the award for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance and awarded as the Grammy Award for Best Classical Performance - Instrumental Soloist or...

 for this recording. In 2004, this recording was re-mastered from the original studio analogue tapes, and released in the highest quality ever on high-resolution Super Audio CD
Super Audio CD
Super Audio CD is a high-resolution, read-only optical disc for audio storage. Sony and Philips Electronics jointly developed the technology, and publicized it in 1999. It is designated as the Scarlet Book standard. Sony and Philips previously collaborated to define the Compact Disc standard...

.

Other famous concerti Cliburn has recorded include the Schumann
Robert Schumann
Robert Schumann, sometimes known as Robert Alexander Schumann, was a German composer, aesthete and influential music critic. He is regarded as one of the greatest and most representative composers of the Romantic era....

 Piano Concerto in A minor
Piano Concerto (Schumann)
The Piano Concerto in A minor, Op.54, is a famous Romantic concerto by Robert Schumann, completed in 1845.Schumann had begun several piano concerti before this one: In 1828, he had begun one in E-flat major; from 1829-31 he worked on one in F major, and in 1839, he wrote one movement of a concerto...

, Grieg
Edvard Grieg
Edvard Hagerup Grieg was a Norwegian composer and pianist. He is best known for his Piano Concerto in A minor, for his incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt , and for his collection of piano miniatures Lyric Pieces.-Biography:Edvard Hagerup Grieg was born in...

 Piano Concerto in A minor
Piano Concerto (Grieg)
The Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16, composed by Edvard Grieg in 1868, was the only concerto Grieg completed. It is one of his most popular works and among the most popular of all piano concerti.-Structure :The concerto is in three movements:...

, Rachmaninoff
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. Rachmaninoff is widely considered one of the finest pianists of his day and, as a composer, one of the last great representatives of Romanticism in Russian classical music...

 Piano Concerto No. 2
Piano Concerto No. 2 (Rachmaninoff)
The Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18, is a concerto for piano and orchestra composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff between the autumn of 1900 and April 1901. The second and third movements were first performed with the composer as soloist on 2 December 1900...

, Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of...

 Piano Concerto No. 4
Piano Concerto No. 4 (Beethoven)
Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58, was composed in 1805–1806, although no autograph copy survives.-Musical forces and movements:...

 and No. 5 "Emperor"
Piano Concerto No. 5 (Beethoven)
The Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73, by Ludwig van Beethoven, popularly known as the Emperor Concerto, was his last piano concerto. It was written between 1809 and 1811 in Vienna, and was dedicated to Archduke Rudolf, Beethoven's patron and pupil...

, and the Prokofiev
Sergei Prokofiev
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev was a Russian composer, pianist and conductor who mastered numerous musical genres and is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century...

 Piano Concerto No. 3
Piano Concerto No. 3 (Prokofiev)
Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major, Op. 26 is the best-known concerto by Sergei Prokofiev. It was completed in 1921 using sketches first started in 1913.-Composition and performances:...

.

In 1958, during a dinner hosted by the National Guild of Piano Teachers, President and Founder Dr. Irl Allison announced a cash prize of $10,000 to be used for a piano competition named in Van Cliburn’s honor. Under the leadership of Grace Ward Lankford and with the dedicated efforts of local music teachers and volunteers, the First Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition was first held in 1962 in Fort Worth, Texas and is hosted by Van Cliburn Foundation. It was created by Fort Worth area teachers in honor of Van Cliburn, who had won the first International Tchaikovsky Competition four years prior with Tchaikovsky's...

 was held September 24-October 7, 1962 at Texas Christian University
Texas Christian University
Texas Christian University is a private, coeducational university located in Fort Worth, Texas, United States and founded in 1873. TCU is affiliated with, but not governed by, the Disciples of Christ...

 in Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth is the 16th-largest city in the United States of America and the fifth-largest city in the state of Texas. Located in North Central Texas, just southeast of the Texas Panhandle, the city is a cultural gateway into the American West and covers nearly in Tarrant, Parker, Denton, and...

. The quadrennial competition is hosted by the Van Cliburn Foundation
Van Cliburn Foundation
The Van Cliburn Foundation is host to the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, the International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs™, Musical Awakenings® education programs, and Cliburn Concerts.-Mission:...

 and its prestige now rivals that of the Tchaikovsky Competition. Van Cliburn continues to serve as Director Emeritus for the Van Cliburn Foundation
Van Cliburn Foundation
The Van Cliburn Foundation is host to the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, the International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs™, Musical Awakenings® education programs, and Cliburn Concerts.-Mission:...

, host of the competition and other programs honoring Cliburn’s legacy.

Cliburn returned to the Soviet Union on several occasions. His performances were usually recorded and even televised. A videotape of his 1962 performance of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 with Kirill Kondrashin and the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra documents that Premier Khrushchev was in the audience, joining in the enthusiastic applause. A 1972 concert performance of the Brahms
Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms was a German composer and pianist, and one of the leading musicians of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria, where he was a leader of the musical scene...

 Piano Concerto No. 2
Piano Concerto No. 2 (Brahms)
The Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 83 by Johannes Brahms is a composition for solo piano with orchestral accompaniment. It is separated by a gap of 22 years from the composer's first piano concerto. Brahms began work on the piece in 1878 and completed it in 1881 while in Pressbaum near...

 with Kondrashin and the Moscow orchestra, as well as a studio recording of Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
The Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini in A minor, Op. 43 is a concertante work written by Sergei Rachmaninoff. It is written for solo piano and symphony orchestra, closely resembling a piano concerto. The work was written at Villa Senar, according to the score, from July 3 to August 18, 1934...

, were later issued on CD by RCA Victor.

On May 26, 1972, Cliburn gave a concert at Spaso House
Spaso House
Spaso House is a listed Neoclassical Revival building at No. 10 Spasopeskovskaya Square in Moscow. It was originally built in 1913 as the mansion of the textile industrialist Nikolay Vtorov. Since 1933 it has been the residence of the U.S...

, the residence of the United States Ambassador to Russia, for an audience which included President Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

, Secretary of State William Rogers
William Rogers
-Politics:*William P. Rogers , U.S. Attorney General under Dwight Eisenhower and Secretary of State under Richard Nixon*Will Rogers, Jr. , congressman from California from 1943 to 1944 and the son of the noted humorist by the same name*Will Rogers , congressman from Oklahoma, 1933–1942*William D...

, and Soviet government officials.

Cliburn performed and recorded through the 1970s, but in 1978, after the deaths of his father and manager, began a hiatus from public life. In 1987, he was invited to perform at the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 for President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 and Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

, and afterward was invited to open the 100th anniversary season of Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States, located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east stretch of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street, two blocks south of Central Park....

. In 1994, Cliburn made a guest appearance in the cartoon Iron Man
Iron Man (TV series)
Iron Man, also known as Iron Man: The Animated Series, is an American animated television series based on Marvel Comics' superhero Iron Man...

, playing himself in the episode "Silence My Companion, Death My Destination". Now over 70, he still gives a limited number of performances every year, to critical and popular acclaim. He has played for royalty and heads of state from dozens of countries, and for every President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 from Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 to Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

.

He begins every concert with The Star-Spangled Banner
The Star-Spangled Banner
"The Star-Spangled Banner" is the national anthem of the United States of America. The lyrics come from "Defence of Fort McHenry", a poem written in 1814 by the 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet, Francis Scott Key, after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Royal Navy ships...

.

Honors

Cliburn received the Kennedy Center Honors
Kennedy Center Honors
The Kennedy Center Honors is an annual honor given to those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American culture. The Honors have been presented annually since 1978 in Washington, D.C., during gala weekend-long events which culminate in a performance for—and...

 in 2001. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

 in 2003 by President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

, and, in October 2004, the Russian Order of Friendship
Order of Friendship
The Order of Friendship is a state decoration of Russia established by decree # 442 of March 2, 1994 of the President of the Russian Federation....

, the highest civilian awards of the two countries. He was also awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded by the Recording Academy to "performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording."...

 the same year and played at a surprise 50th birthday party for United States Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice is an American political scientist and diplomat. She served as the 66th United States Secretary of State, and was the second person to hold that office in the administration of President George W. Bush...

. He was a member of the Alpha Chi Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia
Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia
Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia is an American collegiate social fraternity for men with a special interest in music...

, and was awarded the fraternity's Charles E. Lutton Man of Music Award
Charles E. Lutton Man Of Music Award
The Charles E. Lutton Man of Music Award is one of the highest honors awarded to members of the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity for a lifelong achievement in uplifting the world through art and music. Its recipients include musical legends such as Aaron Copland, W. Francis McBeth, James Levine,...

 in 1962. He was presented a 2010 National Medal of Arts
National Medal of Arts
The National Medal of Arts is an award and title created by the United States Congress in 1984, for the purpose of honoring artists and patrons of the arts. It is the highest honor conferred to an individual artist on behalf of the people. Honorees are selected by the National Endowment for the...

 by President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

.

Personal life

In 1998, Cliburn was named in a lawsuit by his alleged domestic partner of seventeen years, mortician Thomas Zaremba. In the suit, Zaremba claimed entitlement to a portion of Cliburn's income and assets and went on to charge that he might have been exposed to HIV
HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive...

, claiming emotional distress. Each claim was subsequently dismissed by an Appellate Court
Appellate court
An appellate court, commonly called an appeals court or court of appeals or appeal court , is any court of law that is empowered to hear an appeal of a trial court or other lower tribunal...

, holding that palimony
Palimony
Palimony is a popular term used to describe the division of financial assets and real property on the termination of a personal live-in relationship wherein the parties are not legally married. The term is a portmanteau of the words pal and alimony...

 suits are not permitted in the state of Texas unless the relationship is based on a written agreement
Cohabitation agreement
A cohabitation agreement is a form of legal agreement reached between a couple who have chosen to live together . In some ways, such a couple may be treated like a married couple, such as when applying for a mortgage or working out child support...

.

Cliburn is known as a night owl
Night owl (person)
Night owl is a term used to describe a person who tends to stay up until late at night. Another name for a night owl is evening person.The opposite of a night owl is an early bird, a lark as opposed to owl, someone who tends to begin sleeping at a time that is considered early and also wakes early...

. He often practices until 4:30 or 5 am, waking around 1:30 p.m. "You feel like you're alone and the world's asleep, and it's very inspiring."

Cliburn, a Baptist
Baptist
Baptists comprise a group of Christian denominations and churches that subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers , and that it must be done by immersion...

, attends church every week and neither drinks nor smokes.

External links

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