Main content

To go to America

Donald Macleod follows Prokofiev as he prepares to abandon his homeland and escape to America.

Donald Macleod follows Prokofiev as he prepares to abandon his homeland and escape to America.

After a series of revolutions in his native Russia, the young composer Sergei Prokofiev made the decision to leave his homeland and to head to United States in search of fame and fortune. His years in the United States would turn into some of the most tumultuous of his life. Across this week, Donald explores how those years in exile and how it would prove to be one of his most challenging periods professionally, financially and personally.

His life was set against the turbulent events of the first half of the twentieth century, and forces beyond his control so often intervened to scupper his grand ambitions.

As war and revolution ravage Russia and dramatically change the composer’s world, the opportunity of America is too much to resist.

Violin Concerto No 1 in D, Op 19 (3rd mvt)
Vilde Frang, violin
WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne
Thomas Søndergård, conductor

Seven, They Are Seven, Op 30
Iouri Elnikov, Tenor
USSR State Radio Choir and Symphony Orchestra
Gennady Rojdestvenski, conductor

Sonata for piano No 2, Op 14 (3rd & 4th Mvts)
Pascal Devoyon, piano

Visions Fugitives, Op 22 (selection)
Steven Osborne, piano

Symphony No 1 in D major, Op 25 (Classical)
Berliner Philharmoniker
Herbert von Karajan, conductor

Producer: Glyn Tansley for BBC Wales

18 days left to listen

59 minutes

Last on

Mon 7 Oct 2019 12:00

Broadcast

Composers A to Z

Composers A to Z

Visit the extensive audio archive of Radio 3 programmes about Composers and their works.

Who knew? Five eye-opening stories from Composer of the Week

Who knew? Five eye-opening stories from Composer of the Week

The production team reflects on 5 of Donald Macleod’s best stories from the last 20 years

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

The composer of Jerusalem was very far from the conservative figure his image suggests.

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

What is the strange power of Jerusalem which makes strong men weep?

Composer Help Page

Composer Help Page

Find resources and contacts for composers from within the classical music industry.