DALLAS — Internationally acclaimed pianist Van Cliburn, who has not recorded or performed in public since 1978, has accepted an invitation to play at a Dec. 8 White House dinner honoring Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev.
Cliburn, 53, was thrust into the world spotlight in 1958 when he won the first prize in the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. He was given a hero's welcome on his return to the United States, including a ticker-tape parade in New York and an invitation from President Eisenhower to perform at the White House.
Cliburn, contacted at his home in Fort Worth, said he did not know if the appearance would lead to a full-time return to his career. "Let's wait and see how it goes," he said. "All I can tell you now is I am ready and will do my best."