My Nine Lives: A Memoir of Many Careers at the Keyboard

Leon Fleisher and Anne Midgette, Doubleday, $26 (240p) ISBN 978-0-385-52918-1
Pianist Fleisher played the Brahms D Minor concerto at his debut with the New York Philharmonic when he was 16 years old. A brilliant career seemed assured. But at the age of 36, Fleisher lost the use of two fingers on his right hand (due to a neurological condition called focal dystonia), which ended his performing career. This heartfelt memoir chronicles Fleisher's remarkable musical life, beginning as a child prodigy playing Beethoven in San Francisco to his acceptance of Kennedy Center Honors in 2007. Writing chronologically, Fleisher recalls his early training with the master teacher Artur Schnabel, his early performance success followed by career disappointments. He recounts his foray into conducting, his love of teaching, and his years of contentment as the director of Tanglewood. In each of the five interludes interspersed within the narrative, Fleisher provides a learned and lively synopsis of a single composer and a seminal composition. Aptly titled as a master class, these worthy asides will delight serious students of classical music or anyone interested in musical theory. Fleisher intimately chronicles his years of despair during his search for a cure to his mysterious malady, and the ultimate understanding of how his disease opened up new careers within his beloved world of classical music. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/18/2010
Release date: 11/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 325 pages - 978-0-7679-3137-3
Open Ebook - 236 pages - 978-0-385-53366-9
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