Touching the Sound: The Improbable Journey of Nobuyuki Tsujii

Touching the Sound: The Improbable Journey of Nobuyuki Tsujii

Mon, 09/26/2022 - 4:00pm - 5:00pm

Nobuyuki Tsujii

Credit: APT

Blind from birth, this pianist’s handicap never affected his ability to play the piano. 

Documenting the extraordinary journey of Nobuyuki (Nobu) Tsujii, Touching the Sound, part of WXXI and the Golisano Foundation's Move to Include initiative that uses the power of public media to promote inclusionairs Monday, September 26, 2022 at 4 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

In June 2009 at the age of 19, when Nobu rose from the piano, having completed his final Gold Medal winning performance at the 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, audience members leapt to their feet and jurors were moved to tears by his passionate interpretations. The poignant performances by the young pianist from Japan, and the resulting audience impact, has taken on a momentum that Time Magazine coined “Nobu Fever.” 

He returned to Japan a national hero, much the same way that Van Cliburn himself returned to a ticker-tape parade in New York City after winning his first Tchaikovsky Competition in Russia in 1958, causing a thaw in the Cold War between the Soviet Union and America. Twenty news crews greeted Nobu at the Tokyo airport. Touching the Sound follows Nobu from his first experience with music as a toddler, through lessons and early struggles to learn the repertoire, to his success at local and international competitions as a pre-teen. 

This special is part of Move to Include, a partnership between WXXI and the Golisano Foundation designed to promote inclusion for people with intellectual and physical disabilities. This Move to Include model expands nationally this year to five additional communities with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. To learn more about the national efforts, visit