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Van Cliburn to Continue Tour; No Refunds for Bowl Patrons


Despite the lightheadedness that caused Van Cliburn to interrupt his concert Monday night at the Hollywood Bowl, a spokeswoman for the pianist said Tuesday that he is in good health and will continue his 16-city United States tour with the Moscow Philharmonic as planned.

Cliburn's Los Angeles performance was the first official appearance on a comeback tour after going into retirement in 1978. The pianist also performed in a preview concert Saturday in San Diego.

After announcing that he would not play the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3, Cliburn played four short solo pieces during the second half of the Monday concert. Surprised audiences mostly stayed in their seats, and some offered standing ovations when he finished each piece. The Moscow orchestra sat silently behind him.

After the event, a number of disgruntled patrons reportedly went to the Bowl box office, which was closed, seeking refunds for tickets that ranged in price from $10 to $250, well above the usual price range for Bowl tickets. Among them was Norman Potter of Hermosa Beach, who told The Times on Tuesday, "I was mortified at the treatment of the members of this world-class orchestra (the Moscow Philharmonic), in keeping them sitting there all that time, without their conductor, and without playing. That's the height of Ugly Americanism."

Tuesday morning, while the pianist and his entourage were flying home to Texas, Barbara Clarkson of the Van Cliburn Foundation in Ft. Worth said, "As far as we know, the tour (scheduled to resume in Garland, Tex., Friday night) will continue, with the same repertory as announced. Mr. Cliburn is feeling well."

Susan Tilley, president of the board of the foundation, was unavailable for further comment, since she was traveling with Cliburn.

There will be no refunds for ticket-holders, according to Stephen Belth, senior director for marketing and communications for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Although the Philharmonic did not sponsor the concert, it administers concerts at the Hollywood Bowl, and Belth said that "there is a no-refund policy on this program since it was a full concert that went beyond intermission."

Belth said that complaints about the concert should be addressed to the World Cup organizers care of the Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles 90078.

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