Van Cliburn left behind a great legacy of music with his passing yesterday. A phenomenally gifted performer with a beautiful singing tone and nobility of expression, Cliburn ascended to stardom overnight with his triumphant victory in the 1958 Tchaikovsky Piano Competition. Van Cliburn became a cultural ambassador helping to bridge the divide between the USSR and the USA at the height of Cold War tensions. His success has become a model for the most talented artists who aspire to compete in the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, an event made possible by his enormous generosity and patronage. May his star shine eternal.