Touching the Sound documents the extraordinary journey of Nobuyuki (Nobu) Tsujii. Blind from birth, the 24-year-old pianist’s handicap – if a drawback at all – never affected his ability to play the piano. Touching the Sound, part of WXXI and the Golisano Foundation's Dialogue on Disability Week that uses the power of public media to promote inclusion, airs Thursdays, January 28th at 8:00 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.