East End Books Ptown Presents: "The Piano Student" Virtual Book Event - w/author Lea Singer, translator Elisabeth Lauffer 10/7/20 @6pm.
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The Piano Student centers on an affair between one of the 20th century’s most celebrated pianists, Vladimir Horowitz, and his young male student, Nico Kaufmann, in the late 1930s. As Europe hurtles toward political catastrophe and Horowitz ascends to the pinnacle of artistic achievement, the great pianist hides his illicit passion from his wife Wanda, the daughter of the renowned conductor Arturo Toscanini. Based on unpublished letters by Horowitz to Kaufmann that Lea Singer discovered in Switzerland, the novel portrays the anguish that the acclaimed musician felt about his never publicly acknowledged homosexuality and the attendant duplicity of his personal life. It’s a riveting and sensitive tale of musical perfection, love, and longing denied, with multiple historical layers and insights into artistic creativity.
"Carefully researched and explosively passionate, this story of forbidden love and unmet potential is not just for fans of Vladimir Horowitz or the piano, but for anyone who’s ever felt the ineffable power of music."
—Aja Gabel, author of The Ensemble
"Based on correspondence between virtuoso pianist Vladimir Horowitz and a young Swiss student, Nico Kaufmann, Singer’s astute, elegiac English-language debut reconstructs the pair’s amorous liaison in the lead-up to WWII ... Singer effectively conveys Horowitz’s genius ... This nostalgic tale of repressed desire is as affecting as Schumann’s haunting tune."
"With the complexity of a Russian piano concerto, Lea Singer has evoked the passionate love between the maestro Horowitz and the young man who became his student. She has richly imagined their forbidden relationship, which was marked by the same push-pull phrasing in the Chopin Nocturnes Horowitz often played, and that haunted them both for the rest of their lives."
—Chris Cander, author of The Weight of A Piano
"Paints a startling picture of Horowitz as a complicated man torn between his desire to be with men and his duty to his wife, Arturo Toscanini’s daughter. This is an engrossing, beautifully written novel that brings into focus an inimitable artist who ascended to great heights as a pianist despite his hidden life as a gay man."
—VAN Classical Music Magazine
"This intriguing, quirky novel, based on unpublished letters of Horowitz to a Swiss student, explores his hidden European years between living in Russia and the United States, and his hidden homosexual life outside his marriage with Wanda Toscanini."
―Stephen Hough, concert pianist and author of Rough Ideas: Reflections on Music and More and The Final Retreat: A Novel
"One of the greatest pianists of the last century, an illicit love affair with a young man, and a story using the genuine correspondence that passed between them―it makes for an utterly compelling read."
―Jeremy Nicholas, author of The Great Composers and Chopin: His Life and Music
Lea Singer is a German cultural historian and a novelist who uses a pseudonym for her fictional works. Under her legal name of Eva Gesine Baur, she has authored biographies of Frédéric Chopin and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. She has also written novels inspired by the lives of pianist Paul Wittgenstein and painter Caspar David Friedrich.
Elisabeth Lauffer is the recipient of the 2014 Gutekunst Translation Prize. After graduating from Wesleyan University she lived in Berlin where she worked as a commercial translator and then obtained a master’s in education from Harvard.