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Jeff Malet Photography

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President Obama awarded a 2010 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal to Van Cliburn for his contributions as one of the greatest pianists in the history of music. President Obama awarded the 2010 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal to 20 honorees in the East Room of the White House on March 2, 2011 in Washington DC. The citation read “The 2010 National Medal of Arts to Van Cliburn for his contributions as one of the greatest pianists in the history of music, and as a persuasive ambassador for American culture. Since his historic 1958 victory at the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, Mr. Cliburn has reached across political frontiers with the universal message of beautiful music." (Photo by Jeff Malet)

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