The power of music to melt hostilities is the message of The Socially Sparked Quote of the Week by internationally renowned American pianist Byron Janis.

“Music has the power to make allies out of enemies” — Byron Janis, world renowned American Pianist

power of music to melt hostilities

These words stem from Janis’ first-hand experience performing in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) in 1960 as America’s first Cultural Ambassador to Russia. He was appointed by President Kennedy to lead The Cultural Exchange which was meant to soften the relationship between the two superpowers. The beginning of this Cultural Exchange was fraught by hostilities towards the USA due to Russia’s shooting down of a new USA U2 spy plane.

A few days prior to his performance in Leningrad, Janis stepped onto the stage to perform in Moscow to a cold, hostile and yelling audience. By the time he had struck his last chord, the climate in the concert hall had changed. He received a standing ovation and had moved the audience to tears. Needless to say, once he arrived to play in Leningrad the feeling was no longer marred by politics.

power of music to melt hostilities
The black, white & red cover of 'Live from Leningrad, 1960' is by artist Maria Cooper, Janis’ wife and the daughter of the late great Hollywood star Gary Cooper.

In February of this year, Janis released “Live from Leningrad, 1960,” based on a recording made in secret and recently discovered of his historically significant performance in Russia during the height of the Cold War. Maestro Janis was unaware of its existence until his sound engineer Seth Winner, brought the vinyl to him. Winner had received the recording by mail from an unnamed source.

“Live from Leningrad, 1960” is the second of three CD and limited-edition vinyl pressings Janis is making public. To learn more about the series and his music and to purchase his albums visit the maestro’s website at

power of music quote


Byron Janis is internationally renowned as one of the world’s greatest pianists. He made his orchestral debut at age 15 with Toscanini’s NBC Symphony Orchestra. The following year he was chosen by Vladimir Horowitz as his first student. At 18, he became the youngest artist ever signed to a contract by RCA Victor Records. Two years later, in 1948, he made his Carnegie Hall debut which was hailed as an unparalleled success. He has played with every major symphony orchestra in both the U.S and abroad. His many recordings appear on the RCA, Mercury Phillips, Sony, Universal and EMI labels.

Renowned classical pianist, composer, author, mentor, cultural ambassador and more, Byron Janis has Socially Sparked® our lives in the 21st Century. At the age of 90, he is still making music and has more he wants to achieve. Watch for our upcom9ing Socially Sparked Spotlight story on this maestro and his music. — We are Socially Sparked! Tweet @sosparkednews