Van Cliburn is busy this weekend being America's musical ambassador to the Soviet Union. He left Fort Worth, Texas, Thursday on a private jet, bound for the Soviet Union, where he will perform at the invitation of Mikhail and Raisa Gorbachev.
'Any time I get to go to Moscow it is very special because of the great musical heritage it has,' said Cliburn, 54, who rocketed to the fame after winning the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow in 1958. 'I think that classical music is so universal and when you have classical art, that is for all people everywhere, and that, truly, is a bridge between all peoples.' OnJune 19 Cliburn ended an 11-year hiatus from the stage with a concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra.