Author: Leon Fleisher, Anne Midgette.
Publisher: Published November 30th 2010 by Doubleday
Pages: 240, photos and author notes, the book is over 300
Quick Review: 3 stars (out of 5)
Why I Read It: I won this on Goodreads giveaway, I read each and then review on the site.
Where I Obtained the Book: Doubleday sent it to me.
Synopsis: The pianist Leon Fleisher—whose student–teacher lineage linked him to Beethoven by way of his instructor, Artur Schnabel—displayed an exceptional gift from his earliest years. And then, like the hero of a Greek tragedy, he was struck down in his prime: at thirty-six years old, he suddenly and mysteri¬ously became unable to use two fingers of his right hand.
It is not just Fleisher’s thirty-year search for a cure that drives this remarkable memoir. With his coauthor, celebrated music critic Anne Midgette, the pianist explores the depression that engulfed him as his condition worsened and, perhaps most powerfully of all, the sheer love of music that rescued him from complete self-destruction.
Miraculously, at the age of sixty-six, Fleisher was diagnosed with focal dystonia, and cured by experimental Botox injections. In 2003, he returned to Carnegie Hall to give his first two-handed recital in over three decades, bringing down the house.
Sad, reflective, but ultimately triumphant, My Nine Lives combines the glamour, pathos, and courage of Fleisher’s life with real musical and intellectual substance. Fleisher embodies the resilience of the human spirit, and his memoir proves that true passion always finds a way.
Review: Interesting and lots of music talk. The people he met and trained with or trained, were impressive. I love that he can trace his teacher back, through teachers, to Beethoven. He seemed to have the same problems many celebrities have with personal relationships, three marriages and two families of children(opus 1 and opus 2). As most celebrities he felt the need to share his political views at the end of the book. He is disgusted with the current president and his policies, I had to agree with him. Of course he was talking of President Bush and I'm talking about President Obama.
It was a good book and fast to read, an interesting look at a music filled-life. Maybe not always the way he imagined, but music inspired and enjoyed all the same.
Author Biography: Anne Midgette is an American journalist and classical music critic. Her father was the painter Willard Midgette.
Midgette is a 1986 graduate of Yale University. After university, she lived for 11 years in Munich, Germany, reviewing opera, music and art throughout Europe for The Wall Street Journal, Opera News, and other publications. In 1998, she returned to New York City. After several other writing stints, she became the first woman to review classical music for The New York Times on a regular basis in 2001. She continued as a classical music critic, theater critic and arts writer for the newspaper from 2001 to 2007.
Together with Herbert Breslin, she wrote the book The King and I, about Breslin’s 36 years managing the tenor Luciano Pavarotti, which was published in 2004. She is currently working with the pianist Leon Fleisher on a book about his life, My Nine Lives, to be published on November 30, 2010.
In January 2008, Midgette took over as temporary classical music critic for The Washington Post. She replaced Tim Page as the newspaper's chief classical music critic in July 2008.
Midgette is married to the composer and music journalist Greg Sandow.
Leon Fleisher bio is in the summary section, his photo is on the cover of the book.