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From Prodigies (or Not) to Pros

by Amy Nathan

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: March 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-8050-7743-X
Publisher: Henry Holt

Nathan worked hard at making this compendium as lively and as compelling as possible. Fifteen current members of the New York Philharmonic each get a chapter, beginning with a childhood photograph, a list of fan-magazine facts—pets as a child, age when they began studying their instrument, where they grew up—with other sidebars highlighting the pros and cons of their instrument, practice tips and what to look for at live concerts. There’s nothing dry or rote about this at all, and the narrative truly engages readers. Some of these musicians were gifted almost from birth; others discovered their talent and interest relatively late. Some came from several generations of musicians; others bemused their families (and sometimes themselves) with their passion. Each loves their own instrument best: cellos, violins, percussion, piano, wind instruments. They are male and female, of various ethnicities, and Nathan makes each and every one stand out as unique, even delightful, individuals. An excellent introduction to the real lives of those who play classical music. (glossary, resources, acknowledgments, index) (Collective biography. 9-12)