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Download When the World Stopped to Listen: Van Cliburn’s Cold War Triumph and Its Aftermath Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample When the World Stopped to Listen: Van Cliburn’s Cold War Triumph and Its Aftermath, by Stuart Isacoff Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stuart Isacoff Narrator: Stefan Rudnicki Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 18, 2017 ISBN: 9781455112685
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The author’s deftly written narrative places Cliburn both in the world of classical music and the larger Cold War conflict.”

    Library Journal

  • “Illuminating…This well-rounded biography will move readers…Essential reading for music lovers.”


  • “A touching portrait of Cliburn.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “The singular odyssey of the Cold War’s remarkable pianistic icon is recounted in a breathtaking synergy of unprecedented worldwide scholarship, fervent musical insight, and virtuoso storytelling…indispensable.”

    Sara Davis Buechner, pianist

  • “With Van Cliburn’s remarkable victory in the 1958 Tchaikovsky Competition as centerpiece, Stuart Isacoff has given us a sensitive, in-depth portrait of the triumphs and tragedies which plagued Cliburn for the rest of his life.”

    Martin Bookspan, broadcaster

  • “Stuart Isacoff, a stellar researcher, tells a spellbinding, even a startling, adventure story, starring the legendary American pianist: a life of triumph and tragedy.”

    David Dubal, professor, Juilliard School

  • “An exciting, thorough, and deeply moving reminder of Van Cliburn’s triumph at the Tchaikovsky Competition.”

    Emanuel Ax. musician

  • “Beautifully written…an insider’s report of the onstage and offstage drama around the 1958 triumph of Van Cliburn and the incredible musical events that led to a Cold War ‘thaw.’”

    André Watts, concert pianist

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