Sticking It Out: From Juilliard to the Orchestra Pit; A Percussionist's Memoir

Patti Niemi. ECW (PGW/Legato, U.S. dist.; Jaguar Book Group, Canadian dist.), $24.95 (264p) ISBN 978-1-77041-273-6
In this absorbing memoir, Niemi, a longtime percussionist with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, shines a spotlight on the musicians at the back of the orchestra with their drums, xylophones, marimbas, triangles, and bells, and recounts what it took for her to join their ranks. Niemi's interest in playing the drums began during childhood, and by the time she finished high school in 1983, her determination to master any instrument she could "shake or smack" brought her to the ultra-competitive environment of the Juilliard School. There, she wryly notes, the message she and other students received was "You are what you do.... Now go practice." Niemi was already an anxious individual, and her quest for musical perfection soon triggered panic attacks and turned her into "a walking piece of anxiety-filled meat." After a teacher repeatedly sexually harassed her, her stress became almost unbearable. Niemi explains how she overcoming these hurdles and shares her hard-won insights with a mix of candor and self-deprecating humor. Not surprisingly, readers will find that her story goes over with a bang. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/28/2016
Release date: 04/01/2016
Paperback - 316 pages - 978-1-4587-3537-9
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