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Hundreds at memorial service for pianist Cliburn

The Associated Press, Sunday, March 3, 2013, 1:07pm (PST)

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — About 1,400 people are attending a memorial service in Texas for the celebrated classical pianist Van Cliburn (CLY'-burn), who died last week after battling cancer.

Former President George W. Bush and Juilliard School President Joseph Polisi are among those planning to speak at the Sunday service.

The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra accompanied a choir as pall bearers carried Cliburn's flower-covered coffin into the Fort Worth church.

Cliburn died Wednesday at 78 after fighting bone cancer. He played for every U.S. president since Harry Truman, plus royalty and heads of state worldwide.

Cliburn is best remembered for winning the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958. At the height of the Cold War, the win helped thaw the icy rivalry between the United States and Soviet Union.

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