BBC broadcaster Stephen Johnson explores how Shostakovich's music took shape under Stalin's reign of terror. Johnson writes of the healing effect of music on sufferers of mental illness and tells of how Shostakovich's music lent him unexpected strength in his struggle against bipolar disorder.
'How Shostakovich Changed My Mind' is one of the most powerful, honest, and profound revelations that exists on what it is that music means and does: it's just an essential document.' - Tom Service, Presenter, Music Matters; '... an intensely readable, highly personal analysis of the major works of a composer, who, Mr. Johnson decides, has recorded a collective experience for an all-inclusive listenership....All great music teeters the edge of madness. This troubled writer makes a convincing case that the music of Dmitri Shostakovich helped to save his mind. In life's crises, he suggests, each of us comes up against an internal siege of Leningrad, and music comes to your relief.' Norman Lebrecht, The Wall Street Journal; 'For Radio 3 presenter and journalist, Stephen Johnson, Shostakovich's music is nothing less than a matter of life and death. Johnson, a tireless and passionate advocate of the man and his works, explores how the fraught music of Shostakovich shepherded the Soviet Union through the dark times of Stalin and the Great Patriotic War - and also helped to pull Johnson, suffering from clinical depression, out of the suicidal depths of despair.' Classical Music Magazine;
Stephen Johnson has taken part in hundreds of radio programmes and documentaries, including Radio 3's weekly 'Discovering Music' series. He is also a presenter on the Classic Arts Podcast series Archive Classics.