Van Cliburn had a "mystical experience" on stage the day before his mother died half a continent away.

At a wake for Rildia Bee O'Bryan Cliburn, the pianist described having an overwhelming feeling about his mother as he walked on stage at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York on Tuesday. She had suffered a stroke days earlier."I knew she was in trouble," Cliburn said Thursday in Fort Worth, Tex. "When I got through the last encore, I rushed to the dressing room to call and she had stabilized and I knew she was with me. It was a mystical experience. That was just so thrilling."

Mrs. Cliburn died Wednesday at age 97 at a Fort Worth hospital, her son at her bedside.