When the World Stopped to Listen by Stuart Isacoff
Van Cliburn's Cold War Triumph, and Its Aftermath

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...he was a poor student and was chronically late, even to his own performances—were primary reasons that he never again reached the heights of his early success. A moving if uneven biography of a man whose career was marked by moving and uneven performances.
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Synopsis

From the acclaimed author of A Natural History of the Piano, the captivating story of the 1958 international piano competition in Moscow, where, at the height of Cold War tensions, an American musician showed the potential of art to change the world.

April of 1958--the Iron Curtain was at its heaviest, and the outcome of the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition seemed preordained. Nonetheless, as star musicians from across the globe descended on Moscow, an unlikely favorite emerged: Van Cliburn, a polite, lanky Texan whose passionate virtuosity captured the Russian spirit.

This is the story of what unfolded that spring--for Cliburn and the other competitors, jurors, party officials, and citizens of the world who were touched by the outcome. It is a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most remarkable events in musical history, filled with political intrigue and personal struggle as artists strove for self-expression and governments jockeyed for prestige. And, at the core of it all: the value of artistic achievement, the supremacy of the heart, and the transcendent freedom that can be found, through music, even in the darkest moments of human history.
 

About Stuart Isacoff

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Stuart Isacoff, a pianist and writer, was the founder of Piano Today magazine, which he edited for nearly three decades. A winner of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for excellence in writing about music, he is a regular contributor on the arts to The Wall Street Journal and has written for The New York Times, Chamber Music, Symphony, Musical America, Stagebill, and The New Grove Dictionary of American Music. Mr. Isacoff is also the author of Temperament: How Music Became a Battleground for the Great Minds of Western Civilization. He is on the faculty of the SUNY Purchase College Conservatory of Music. He lives in Closter, New Jersey.
 
Published April 18, 2017 by Knopf. 304 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, Arts & Photography, History. Non-fiction
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Kirkus

Above average
on Jan 24 2017

...he was a poor student and was chronically late, even to his own performances—were primary reasons that he never again reached the heights of his early success. A moving if uneven biography of a man whose career was marked by moving and uneven performances.

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