is the autobiography of the world famous pianist famous Abbey Simon. Published in 2017 and available on Amazon, the book traces Simon's artistic and personal journey from his childhood at the Curtis Institute to navigating the thorny business of music and, of course, the music itself. The book also contains several appendices of historical significance.
"Abbey Simon gained international recognition when he won the 1940 Naumburg International Piano Competition, putting him in the heady company of Adele Marcus and his former classmate from the Curtis Institute of Music, Jorge Bolet; more recent competition winners include such luminaries as Stephen Hough and Awadagin Pratt. Called a "supervirtuoso" by the New York Times, Simon has long been regarded as a link to a "Golden Age" of piano playing, one that presumably recalls the virtuosity and expressivity of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In this autobiography Simon, with the help of his former student Garnet Ungar, recounts his career as a pianist and pedagogue, offering a window into a professional world that has long since evaporated. This book makes no claims to be objective, an approach made eminently clear in Ungar's effusive preface, in which the student's affection and admiration for his teacher are on full display. Simon begins with his childhood in the Bronx, and he reveals himself to be a consummate storyteller. Taking readers through his years as a pupil at Curtis and his close friendship with Bolet, Simon describes a world long gone, one in which Curtis students were simply given grand pianos to compensate for the absence of practice rooms and one in which the annual Curtis Christmas party was a sumptuous, costumed affair. Simon's account of arriving in Buenos Aires in 1955 for concerts amid the chaos of revolution is a highlight of his story, and his description of his time Indiana University's school of music shows just how flexible and serendipitous the world of post-secondary musical training was in those days. The autobiography also covers Simon's time teaching at Juilliard and Houston, during which he maintained a successful concert and recording career. The autobiographical chapters are the best parts of this book, and Simon is indeed a fine raconteur. His descriptions are engaging and vivid, and he provides a glimpse at a more glamorous classical music world than exists today. This is surely worth a read for those interested in Simon's career and in the lifestyle of the concert pianist and celebrity faculty member."