The University Record, March 19, 1996

Van Cliburn will receive UMS Distinguished Artist Award

In a celebration of musical harmony, Van Cliburn will begin a new tradition at the University Musical Society (UMS) when he accepts the University Musical Society Distinguished Artist Award on May 11.

Sponsored by UMS and the Ford Motor Co., the Ford Honors Program will annually present an award to an internationally acclaimed artist who has a long-standing and significant relationship with UMS. Included in the program honoring Van Cliburn is a recital by the artist, aperitifs, dinner and dancing.

Proceeds from the events will benefit the UMS education program, now in its seventh year of offering discounted prices and special one-hour performances for area children. The education program also sponsors specially priced family shows, programs both in the theater and in schools, and artists' residency activities in the community.

Cliburn's relationship with UMS began with his first performance in 1960, only two years after he won the First International Tchaikovsky Competition in the former Soviet Union. In Ann Arbor, he subsequently gave seven more performances. Returning to Hill Auditorium more than 20 years after his last performance here, Cliburn will perform a program of Beethoven, Szymanowski, Scriabin and Debussy.

Cliburn has shown a dedication and commitment to the development of young artists through the Van Cliburn International Piano Competitions, which began in 1962. He has played for every United States president since Truman, and at occasions honoring royalty and heads of state around the world. Honorary chairs of the Ford Honors Program are former President Gerald R. Ford, Ford Motor Co. chair and chief executive officer Alex Trotman, and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.

Ticket prices for the recital and tribute to Van Cliburn begin at $25. Packages that include the entire gala evening of aperitifs, recital, dinner and dancing can be purchased for $300-$1,000. Tickets are available at the UMS Box Office in Burton Tower. For more information on the dinner and dance, call 936-6387.