NPR Interviews Jonathan Rosenberg: 'Dangerous Melodies' Examines Classical Music And American Foreign Relations

Historians in the News
tags: books, foreign relations, musical history

At the height of the Cold War in 1958, Van Cliburn, a curly-headed kid from Texas, won the International Tchaikovsky Competition. He was hugged by Nikita Khrushchev and heralded like Elvis Presley when he returned.

Classical music figures were once stars in America. They were pursued, recognized and gossiped about — people who had popular and cultural impact. Jonathan Rosenberg, a professor of history at Hunter College, has a new book that examines this phenomenon. It's called Dangerous Melodies: Classical Music in America from The Great War through the Cold War.

NPR's Scott Simon talks to Rosenberg about some of the genre's influential figures, including Van CliburnRichard Strauss and Aaron Copland. Listen in the audio player above and read on for highlights of their conversation.

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