July 12, birthdays of Van Cliburn and Juan del Encina

Juan del Encina (1468 – late 1529 or early 1530), was a poet, singer, chapelmaster, and composer. He moved around Spain and Italy composing for royalty and though he became a priest, his compositions were all secular and mostly about unrequited love. His works are reflective of the transition from secular to lay themes in the vocal music.

Who doesn’t know Van Cliburn (1934-2013)? I guess most people who were born after the cold war. In 1958, he won the first International Tchaikovsky Competition during a time when Russia’s Khrushchev was promising to “bury” America, and there was a propaganda war between each country to outdo each other in the arts, technology, science, manufacturing, etc. I had the privilege of seeing him in performance on a date during my senior year of college (~1973) at South Bend’s Morris Civic Auditorium. It was one of the few “rock stars” of the classical music scene. The reason I call him a rock star is because he was a noted recluse and after being given a ticker tape parade after the competition in Russia, he had this to say:

“I appreciate more than you will ever know that you are honoring me, but the thing that thrills me the most is that you are honoring classical music. Because I’m only one of many. I’m only a witness and a messenger. Because I believe so much in the beauty, the construction, the architecture invisible, the importance for all generations, for young people to come that it will help their minds, develop their attitudes, and give them values. That is why I’m so grateful that you have honored me in that spirit.”

Encina: “Pedro, bien te quiero”

Van Cliburn performing: Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini”


About kurtnemes
Writer and Education Professional. Specialties include Ethics, Personal Memoir, Classical music, Tai Chi, Stress Reduction, Meditation, Coping, Classical Music, Aging, Love, Joy, Compassion and Equanimity (& what interests me.)

4 Responses to July 12, birthdays of Van Cliburn and Juan del Encina

  1. kvennarad says:

    I love the Rachmaninoff, especially from 15:42 onwards.


  2. Pingback: July 12, birthdays of Van Cliburn and Juan del Encina — Kurt Nemes’ Classical Music Almanac | I Write The Music

  3. darlamsands says:

    I appreciate the information you share alongside the music. Nicely done. And how neat that you got to see Van Cliburn! I really like his quote.


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