Program 545: Optimism in Armenia; Finding Chopin's Piano

Release Date: 11-24-2018


Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Peter Balakian describes the new positive spirit he encountered during his recent travels in Armenia, whose citizens have earned good reason to feel upbeat about their future. And composer Paul Kildea explains how Frederic Chopin's sublime 24 Preludes — written on a clunky mini-piano in an abandoned monastery in the middle of the Mediterranean — changed how the world hears music.


  • Poet Peter Balakian, professor of Humanities at Colgate University
  • Conductor Paul Kildea, author of "Chopin's Piano" (Norton)

Additional Info

  • Peter Balakian writes about his latest visit to Armenia in a feature article for the New York Times. 
  • Peter won the Pulitzer Prize in 2016 for his poetry collection, "Ozone Journal."  Many of his poems center on Armenian themes.    
  • Some of the contemporary Armenian educational instutitions Peter mentions are the Children of Armenia Fund, Dilijan University, the American University of Armenia, and the Tumo Center for Creative Technologies.
  • Paul Kildea is the author of "Chopin's Piano."
  • Paul Kildea plays the piano manufactured by Pleyel at Hatchlands Park that Chopin himself once played, at the close of the BBC Radio 4 discussion program "Start the Week" from July 2018.  He plays Chopin's Prelude No. 13, starting at 38:21 into the BBC podcast.
  • Salons of Chopin piano concerts are held Sunday evenings at the Chopin Boutique Bed and Breakfast in Warsaw.