For readers interested in concert pianists, Van Cliburn and his story enrich our understanding of how classical musicians developed their careers against the backdrop of the Cold War. For those drawn to this book more out of interest in political history, Nigel Cliff shows that musicians’ stories can give us perspective on the private and public faces of this conflict.
Alexander Stefaniak is assistant professor of musicology at Washington University in St. Louis. His research centers on 19th-century music: specifically, instrumental virtuosity, Romantic aesthetics, music criticism, and the Schumann circle. His first book, Schumann’s Virtuosity: Composition, Criticism, and Performance in Nineteenth-Century Germany, was published 2016 by Indiana University Press. Stefaniak has presented his work at national meetings of the American Musicological Society, at the International Liszt Congress, and at the North American Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music. He received his PhD in 2012 from the Eastman School of Music and joined the faculty of Washington University in Saint Louis that year.
Posts by Alexander Stefaniak
The real Elvis is American, remember, and America is a consumer society. The desires we project, the stuff we buy—that is what feels real to us. It lets us have any Elvis we want. He left plenty of kitsch in his wake, plenty of pseudo-religion, plenty of Elvis jokes—but he was not, is not, a joke. He lived our contradictions, released our inhibitions, and lost himself in the process.