Van Cliburn performs at the Moscow Conservatory in the Tchaikovsky Competition in 1958. His performance in Russia was a landmark ​event during the height of the U.S.-Soviet Cold War.

“Calling the Russian invasion of Ukraine ‘reprehensible and heartbreaking,’ citing its namesake’s historic 1958 Tchaikovsky Competition win in Moscow, the Cliburn Competition will let its Russian contestants come to the U.S. to compete in live auditions March 6-12,” writes Susan Elliott in Thursday’s Musical America (subscription required). “Of the 72 pianists scheduled to arrive in Fort Worth, TX, 15 are Russian-born; eight of those currently reside in Moscow. ‘The Russian-born pianists who have applied for the Sixteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition are not officials of their government, nor is their participation in the Cliburn state- sponsored,’ reads a statement [from Cliburn officials]. ‘Therefore, in the vision of our namesake and inspiration, Van Cliburn, and our mandate to support young artists—which is the very core of our mission—the Russian-born pianists will be allowed to audition for the Cliburn Competition.’ ”