March 21, 2012
Van Cliburn to Receive Honorary Doctorate, Speak at CIM Conservatory Commencement
CLEVELAND, OHIO – 03-21-12 – The Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) will add an iconic musical figure to its illustrious list of Honorary Doctorates at the 87th Annual Commencement Ceremony on May 18 in the conservatory’s Kulas Hall.
President Joel Smirnoff will confer approximately 120 Bachelor and Master of Music degrees, Doctoral of Musical Arts degrees, Artist Certificates, Artist Diplomas and Professional Studies Diplomas upon the 2012 graduates at a ceremony that will also present legendary pianist Van Cliburn with an honorary doctorate.
Van Cliburn has been hailed as one of the most persuasive ambassadors of American culture, as well as one of the greatest pianists of all time. With his historic 1958 victory at the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow at the height of the Cold War, Mr. Cliburn transcended politics by demonstrating the universality of classical music. The American-born pianist received a ticker-tape parade, the only time a classical musician was ever honored with the highest tribute possible by New York City and was featured on the cover of Time magazine (May 1958) with the headline “The Texan Who Conquered Russia.” He quickly became a household name to people of all ages and, most significantly, in homes with no previous connection to classical music.
Mr. Cliburn has performed for every President of the United States since Harry Truman, for royalty and for heads of state in Europe, Asia and South America. He has received Kennedy Center Honors, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and in a 2004 Kremlin ceremony, the Order of Friendship from President Vladimir Putin. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in 2003 and the National Medal of Arts in 2011 from President Barack Obama.
The 2012 Commencement Ceremony at CIM is not open to the public.
CIM’s Commencement is preceded by Honors Convocation, Friday, May 18 at 4:30 p.m. in Mixon Hall. The Convocation ceremony honors student and alumni achievements and features musical performances.
Being recognized at this year’s Convocation are the following alumni: William Martin, retired division head of Music History and Graduate Studies in the department of music at Cleveland State University; Paul Schenly, head of CIM’s piano department; Carrie-Anne Matheson, assistant conductor for the Metropolitan Opera; and cellist Joshua Roman, dubbed the “Classical Rock Star” by the press.