“This is a book I would readily recommend to any performer, teacher, student, or lover of the piano,” says pianist and composer John Musto.
Pianist and professor Lisa Yui writes, “Donald Isler’s collection of articles and interviews are delightful! They are written in the charming and breezy style of Huneker, Loesser, and Hough (three of the most esteemed writers on the piano and pianists), but underneath lies a depth of knowledge and experience. The interviews are informative and observant, the articles witty and self-reflective. Each is fascinating, informative, enlightening—in short, a wonderful read!”
According to Jerome Lowenthal, professor at the Juilliard School and one of the most renowned pianists of his generation, “If there was a golden age of pianophilia, it is nobly continued today by pianist-journalists like Donald Isler.”
Author Donald Isler reflects on more than fifty years’ experience teaching, attending concerts, and living a professional life dedicated to music. Though the responsibilities of being a true artist or a good teacher are taken seriously, there are also many lighthearted and amusing stories.
The thirty-five essays that comprise Part I of the book include provocative titles, such as “Up from Mediocrity,” “In Praise of Rule Breakers,” “Do I Keep an Open Mind,” plus articles about great musicians Isler heard, knew personally, or studied with.
The thirty-one interviews that make up Part II followed in-depth conversations with each subject. They reveal much about the lives and careers of great artists of the older generation, such as Gary Graffman and Ruth Slenczynska, several child prodigies and many distinguished musicians in-between, as well as two acclaimed radio personalities, one impresario who has devoted her life to developing the careers of many important musicians—and Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the sex therapist, who speaks about the music in her life!