Cover image for Musical prodigies : perilous journeys, remarkable lives
Musical prodigies : perilous journeys, remarkable lives
Kenneson, Claude.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Portland, Or. : Amadeus Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
386 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML81 .K46 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



(Amadeus). What must it be like to start composing music at age two and create an opera at age ten as Samuel Barber did? Or to go deaf at age eight and yet become a world-renowned percussionist as Evelyn Glennie has? This book is a celebration of the remarkable lives of 44 musical prodigies from the 18th century to the present, including the amazing stories of Mozart and Paganini, Andres Segovia and Samuel Barber, Van Cliburn and Ruggiero Ricci and Jacqueline du Pre and Yo-Yo Ma, to name only a few. The author explores early family life, first teachers, the importance of peers and the inevitable struggles for independence and acceptance as an adult musician.

Author Notes

Claude Kenneson is a cellist and professor emeritus of the University of Alberta

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

They fascinate usÄchildren whose tiny fingers fly across a keyboard or the strings of a violin, on their faces expressions of adult intensity. They seem blessed or touched by magic. We marvel at them and at the same time pity their unusually brief childhoods. Kenneson, a cellist and teacher of prodigies, examines the lives of 44 musical prodigies, beginning with Mozart, Paganini, Clara Schumann, and Pablo Casals. He continues through the 19th and 20th centuries with Heifetz, Rubinstein, Gould, Barenboim, Glennie, Barber, du Pr‚, and others. These performers led very different lives, some protected and nurtured, others exploited and dominated. What they had in common was a joyfulness and a need, even a compulsion, to communicate through music. Kenneson satisfies our curiosity by telling us how their stories turned out and what their adult lives became. The book concludes with an insightful and beautifully written essay by Bejun Mehta, a boy soprano who has recently begun a new career as a countertenor. Intriguing and informative for musicians, teachers, and music lovers. Highly recommended.ÄKate McCaffrey, Onondaga Cty. P.L., Syracuse, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Van CliburnBejun Mehta
Forewordp. 9
Prefacep. 11
A Personal Viewp. 17
Reader's Guidep. 34
Part 1 The Grand Tradition
1 The Miracle From Salzburg: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozartp. 51
2 High Venture: Niccolo Paganinip. 66
3 A Girl From Leipzig: Clara Schumannp. 77
4 El Nino del Tost: Pablo Casalsp. 91
5 A Family Portrait: The Britts and the Koutzensp. 103
6 California Crossroads: Jascha Heifetz, Emanuel Feuermann, Gregor Piatigorsky, and Artur Rubinsteinp. 131
7 Midcentury Keyboard Masters: Glenn Gould, Martha Argerich, Daniel Barenboim, and Van Cliburnp. 159
8 Discovery: Competitions and Managementp. 188
9 Warsaw, 1935: The First International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competitionp. 199
10 Virtuosos of the Twenties and Thirties From A to Z: Aldo Parisot, Isaac Stern, Janos Starker, Ruggiero Ricci, Mstislav Rostropovich, Yehudi Menuhin, and Zara Nelsovap. 217
Part 2 The Innovators
11 Against All Odds: Andres Segovia, Georges Barrere, William Primrose, and Evelyn Glenniep. 251
12 Pocket Toscaninis: Pierino Gamba, Joseph Alfidi, and Lorin Maazelp. 277
13 The Rose Tree, An Opera: Samuel Barberp. 285
14 The Spirit of the Gypsy: Kato Havasp. 295
15 Bass Is Beautiful: Gary Karrp. 307
16 Born for the Cello: Jacqueline du Pre and Yo-Yo Map. 317
17 A Process of Prodigyp. 331
Notesp. 353
Selected Bibliographyp. 367
Indexp. 371