The Piano Student

The Piano Student

by Lea Singer

Translated by Elisabeth Lauffer

Published by: New Vessel Press

230 pages, 5.50 x 8.25 in

  • Paperback
  • 9781939931863
  • Published: October 2020

$16.95

"Carefully researched and explosively passionate, this story of forbidden love and unmet potential is ... for anyone who’s ever felt the ineffable power of music."
Aja Gabel, author of The Ensemble

The Piano Student is a novel about regret, secrecy, and music, involving 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. The affair is narrated by Kaufmann in the 1980s to another music devotee, who comes to him enchanted by Schumann’s composition Träumerei  and awakens memories of the thwarted relationship. Based on unpublished letters by Horowitz to Kaufmann that author Lea Singer discovered in Switzerland, the novel portrays the anguish that the acclaimed musician felt about his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.