Touching the Sound: The Improbable Journey of Nobuyuki Tsujii

Touching the Sound: The Improbable Journey of Nobuyuki Tsujii

Thu, 01/28/2021 - 8:00pm - 9:00pm

Nobuyuki Tsujii

Credit: APT

This film traces the artistic development of this remarkable young musician, from an early ability to play piano by ear, to his gold medal triumph in the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, to his debut at Carnegie Hall.

Documenting the extraordinary journey of Nobuyuki (Nobu) Tsujii, Touching the Sound airs Thursday, January 29 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV and Saturday, January 30 at 8 a.m. on WXXI-WORLD. This documentary is presented as part of Dialogue on Disability, a partnership between WXXI and Al Sigl Community of Agencies that celebrates people with differing abilities.

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. 

Dialogue on Disability, an initiative founded by WXXI and Al Sigl Community of Agencies in 2003, celebrates people with differing abilities and promotes a more inclusive community. Presenting a week’s worth of TV and radio specials, news reports, and interviews on WXXI’s daily talk show, Connections with Evan Dawson, the initiative is designed to encourage community discussion about the perspectives and abilities of people with physical and intellectual disabilities. Dialogue on Disability runs January 25-31.

For a complete list of programs and other offerings, visit Dialogue on Disability is a partnership between WXXI and Al Sigl Community of Agencies - in conjunction with the Herman and Margaret Schwartz Community Series. The initiative is supported by the Fred L. Emerson Foundation with additional support from The Golisano Foundation.