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Musicians with a Mission
Keeping the Classical Tradition Alive
Andrew L. Pincus

Northeastern University Press
2002 • 288 pp. 6 illus. 6 x 9"
Classical Music

$29.95 Hardcover, 978-1-55553-516-2

“Pincus has an eye for intimate detail, and though his profiles are focused on the subjects’ careers, he manages to convey much about each musician’s temperament and about the cloistered, gossipy classical music world with which he is affectionately obsessed. The portraits will please readers interested in classical music and are refreshingly optimistic in tone. Pincus’s passion for the subject is contagious.”—Publishers Weekly

This engaging volume profiles six artists who have influenced the shape of American music by extending themselves far beyond stardom or conventional careers

Andrew L. Pincus profiles six remarkable artists -- cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Midori, singer Phyllis Curtin, the Juilliard String Quartet, composer Gunther Schuller, and conductor Robert Spano -- who have advanced American musical culture through their spirited support of new repertoire, new artists, and new ideas.

While the musicians featured in this book have followed different paths, they share a common goal: to constantly refresh an art form endangered by ossification, commercialization, and inadequate public support and funding. Whether the means is performance and commissioning of new music, teaching, publishing, advocacy, or innovations in programming, Pincus says that these devoted artists have extended themselves far beyond stardom or conventional careers to strengthen and enrich the world of music.

Drawing on extensive interviews with his subjects and on his several years' experience as a journalist covering Tanglewood, Pincus devotes a chapter to each of the musicians. He shows how the artist has been and continues to be a vital force in shaping the course of music and highlights other musicians or ensembles that are carrying on the ideals of their mentors.


“Classical music critic Pincus has written a captivating study of the lives and careers of six influential musicians or musical groups . . . Biographical accounts are interwoven with interviews and narrative accounts of teaching, master classes, and humanitarian work. This book should be appreciated by scholars and amateurs alike.”—Library Journal

Andrew L. Pincus is the classical music critic for the Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and has been a contributor to the New York Times, Boston Globe, Opera News, Musical America, and numerous other publications. He has twice won the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for excellence in music criticism. He is the author of Tanglewood: The Clash between Tradition and Change, also published by Northeastern University Press. He lives in Lenox, Massachusetts.

Wed, 20 Jun 2012 09:53:29 -0500