I first heard Van Cliburn live in 1969. He played a concert at Austin's Municipal Auditorium, a barn of a place, to a sold-out audience. I was, in the vernacular of the time, blown away.
As soon as the concert was over, I rushed down from my balcony seat to wait in the long line of well wishers for my opportunity to have my program autographed. By this time, Mr. Cliburn had actually come down into the audience. He was, in a sense, a man of the people.