Kirill Kondrashin

Van Cliburn receives the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama - March 2, 2011 (credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

American Classical Pianist Van Cliburn Dies At 78

Van Cliburn, the internationally celebrated pianist whose triumph at a 1958 Moscow competition helped thaw the Cold War and launched a spectacular career that made him the rare classical musician to enjoy rock-star status, died Wednesday.